Nov 272012

We have often seen job seekers show up to an interview and one of the most common mistakes people can make is not having enough copies of their resume for the interview. Here are a few suggestions about how to properly prepare for this all important step in getting a job.

Bring 3-5 copies of your resume.

Be sure to have enough copies of your resume. Many job seekers assume that since they have emailed their resume, the employer will have it for the interview. Although this is often the case, don’t leave anything to chance.

We recommend bringing at least 3 copies of your resume. Here is why:

  • You want a copy for the interviewer
  • You want a copy for yourself so you can easily reference any points the interviewer may ask about
  • You want at least one other copy in case additional person is brought in to interview you (meaning the interview is going well!)

The Paper Illusion

Use a decent paper but don’t spend big dollars on special paper. Many people are under the assumption that high dollar, linen paper is needed for resumes. Consider it a “nice to have” but certainly not a must. The answers you provide during the interview will be the difference maker in the experience, not the paper.

Also be certain to spellcheck the resume, especially if you have made edits to the document prior to the interview.

Good luck, go get that job!

Aug 182012

We recently came across an article on Mashable about LinkedIn and resumes that we thought we should share. You can find the whole article here, written by Gerrit Hall.

Gerrit identified a few things that are typically on a person’s LinkedIn profile that should not be included in the resume. Although we agree with some of this recommendations, we have a few of ideas that conflict. Below find a recap of his article and our thoughts on Gerrit’s take.

1. Listing all of your jobs

Many people list their entire work history on LinkedIn from graduation to present. Gerrit recommends that on the resume not all positions should be listed on the resume. Specifically he says:

“That job you held in high school is likely not applicable to your career path five years post-graduation, so don’t include it on your resume. The jobs you display on your resume should be relevant to the position you’re applying for, so show potential employers your pertinent accomplishments and results at each position in the bullet points.”

GigSpire’s Take: Although we agree that each experience should point to the job a person is seeking, excluding experience can create gaps in activity that will need to be explained in an interview. Our take is to list your experience on your resume and help the people reading your resume understand the timeline of your professional experience. For positions that are not relevant to the job you are pursuing, avoid putting bullets discussing the tasks of the job. Simply identify the employer, your title and the timeline associated with the employment experience.

2. Publications

LinkedIn profiles allow the user to list any publications that a person has been involved in producing. Gerrit’s thoughts are to keep these off your resume and use the LinkedIn profile as a point of reference to provide the employer should they be interested in reviewing them.

GigSpire’s Take: Although we agree that a listing of publications does not need to be present on the resume in all cases, pertinent ones relating to a person’s job search should be notated in an Activities and Accomplishments section. For example if a person had been published on a topic such as Education and they are seeking a teaching position, this is a good bullet point to include. On the flip side if a person has written a fiction book and he or she is attempting to get a job in a field other than writing or publishing then this accomplishment may not be relevant to include on the resume.

Have your publications listed in a separate document or contained in a portfolio that you can hand a potential employer if requested. Referring a curious interviewer to a LinkedIn profile and asking them to follow the links is one more step in the process and unnecessary. Provide requested materials in as easy a format to access as possible. The more steps you make someone go through to get information, the less likely they are to go through the steps.

3. Recommendations

Recommendations on LinkedIn act in much the same way as a “mini” professional reference. We strongly recommend asking former colleagues and managers a person to to write up something positive to be included on a LinkedIn profile. Gerrit recommends to not include these on the resume.

GigSpire’s Take: Gerrit is right on in his recommendations. References are important but not for the resume. Even the line “References available upon request” is a waste of space on the resume. Think about it, if you want my job and I want your references in all likelihood you will provide them.

LinkedIn recommendations are very limited in what they can provide an employer. Most recommendations on LinkedIn are short, provide no contact information to follow up with the person making the recommendation and can be written by almost anyone. They are a great “starter” towards someone speaking highly of a candidate’s performance at work but nothing replaces an actual conversation.

References should be gathered and prepared ahead of time, prior to interviewing. Have your reference list available if requested but make no mention of them until the interviewer requests them.

4. Interests

LinkedIn also gives the user a place to include personal interests on a profile. Gerrit’s take is to avoid mentioning interests on the resume entirely.

GigSpire’s Take: Once again we believe that Gerrit is offering good advice but there are a few times when we would recommend going against his suggestion in this case.

Should a person be involved in an activity that is a demand on his or her time and may conflict his or her work availability, it should be in the Activities & Accomplishments section of the resume. The reason is it must be discussed during the interview. Here is an example.

If Jane is the Den Mother for her son’s Cub Scout troop and they meet every Thursday from 6-9 PM, Jane is not available to work during those times. Depending on the job, her lack of availability at for that time period could be a “dealbreaker” and should be discussed prior to any hiring decision or offer acceptance. Including such an activity on the resume in the appropriate section creates a talking point during the interview.

5. Birthday

LinkedIn allows the user to list her or his birthday and Gerrit recommends against listing a birthdate on the resume.

GigSpire’s Take: We 100% agree.

Remember that what you represent on your LinkedIn profile should be as close to your resume as possible, especially when you are on job search.

Jul 192012

Writing your resume? Have you ever considered that the font you choose can have an impact on how an employer evaluates your resume?

It’s true.

The size setting of text in your document is important. The primary content should be between 10- and 12 point font. Anything smaller than 10-point font, and it could be too small to read. Anything bigger than 12 point font can be awkward to read.

The style matters as well. Many styles are available but we highly recommend using either Times New Roman or Arial. Using these font styles will ensure that the reader can actually read your document instead of having to decipher some of the more artistic fonts. This method will also ensure that any automated parsing on your resume will be correctly captured by computer systems.

People who choose to use different sizes and styles to be creative risk being eliminated for a variety of reasons. If I have to work to decipher your resume because the font is “stylish”…I am discarding your resume. Just something to keep in mind.