Analyzing job adverts to ensure job hunting success

Responding to the right job adverts is crucial if you want to succeed at job hunting.

It’s always a waste of time to send out as many job applications as possible. You need to be more targeted in your approach and analyzing job adverts is a way of identifying the jobs that are really worth applying for.

Before you even start looking at job adverts as part of your job search, analyze your own experience, knowledge and skills. Ensure you tick the boxes in terms of what the employer is looking for. You should also aim to pick out keywords and phrases in job adverts and use them in your resume and cover letter.

Make a note of the skills they are asking for and the nature of the company. For example, a company may be described as ‘fast paced’, which means they need someone good at handling pressure and working to deadlines. Ultimately, you need to fit into the company and their values. Also, even if you only have 90% of the attributes they’re looking for, be clear on your potential and perhaps use experiences outside of work to demonstrate that you have everything they want.

Remember that it’s usually wise to apply for jobs that are the next level up in terms of seniority, unless you have a solid case to make about your ability to perform in a much more senior position.

You can use LinkedIn to obtain an insight into the skills and responsibilities of professionals who are doing the job you’re applying for. It may also be wise to speak to someone doing the job to gain a real insight that will place you ahead of your competition.

Following these tips and analyze job adverts, whilst comparing them against your abilities. It’s a sure-fire way to ensure you won’t be wasting anyone’s time by applying for the role.


Making the right impression with a telephone interview

To impress a potential employer via a telephone interview, you need to be just as enthusiastic and prepared as you should be if interviewed face-to-face.

That includes body language! You might not need to worry about what you look like but an interview is still an interview, so be well presented and well prepared to place yourself in the right mindset.

Telephone interviews are an inexpensive way to filter candidates in the initial stages of recruitment. Be prepared for the questions to be detailed and in-depth and ensure you project a confident manner and communicate intelligent, thought out answers. Ensure you research the role and company in advance, preparing your interview answers just as you would for a face to face interview. It may be useful to know the structure of the interview in advance.

With a telephone interview, the interviewer is following a script so your interaction won’t be as natural as it can be in real life. It’s therefore important to do all you can to create rapport as it’s tough to judge the reactions, feedback and body language you would be able to observe in a face to face situation. One top tip is to smile whilst you’re on the phone. The interviewer may not be able to see you but you will sound more relaxed and confident, creating the good impression you should be aspiring to.

Further top tips are to ensure you sound enthusiastic, pace yourself as you always need time to compose good answers and don’t worry about silences, as the interviewer could be making notes. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you don’t understand the question. Ultimately, you will want to ensure that you’ve gotten across your key points in regards to the qualities you can bring to the position.

At the end of the conversation, thank the interviewer for their time and reiterate your interest in the role.

Navigate a telephone conversation in the right way and you are sure to progress onto the next round of the recruitment process.


Graduate resume mistakes

There are some resume mistakes that are very common amongst all graduates.

For example, graduates tend to ‘pad out’ their resume. A one page resume is fine at graduate level. Avoid any unnecessary sections or words and stick to the point.

Keep all paragraphs and points short and concise, focusing on the outcome of your actions throughout your career rather than writing in full sentences.

Remember that a generic resume just isn’t good enough. Each role will have a different focus, so be prepared to tweak your resume slightly for each position you apply for.

Don’t ever leave the employer thinking ‘so what?’ Make a clear connection between your skills and resume content with the job’s requirements. You resume will be competing with many others, so it must be relevant and address each requirement.

Never undersell your achievements. Highlight your successes and think about which successes the employer will want to see on your resume. The trick is not to move into the ‘realm of arrogance’. Don’t’ undervalue your experience either. A club, society or volunteering work is still relevant if it has enabled you to acquire important skills. Quantify your experience if you can, e.g. I helped improve profits by 20% and prove all the statements you’re making.

If you have had many jobs, remember to only include your achievements and not just the boring, mundane details of how you worked in a coffee shop that summer. Instead, what about including the fact that you were put in charge of payments to demonstrate your trustworthiness and mathematical skills?

Finally, at natural points in your resume, you must include keywords. Keywords are job-specific phrases and terminology and can include qualifications, skills or areas of expertise. Employers and recruiters will be looking for these and sometimes use special software to help them to identify specific keywords.


Job interview mishaps to avoid

We all make mistakes when it comes to the tricky job interview process but with some forethought, you can avoid common errors at the interview and negotiation stages of accepting a new job.

For example, a common mistake at an interview is arriving too late. If you expect to be late or come across unexpected traffic, call the hiring manager to explain your delay and provide an estimate on when you expect to arrive. The person in question should understand your circumstances and be willing to postpone or reschedule the interview. They key is to communicate and not keep anyone important waiting, which is highly unprofessional.

You may experience the opposite problem and arrive too early. Arriving very early can create a negative first impression, as the hiring manager may feel pressurized to see you before they’re ready to. If you arrive more than 15 minutes early, take the time to prepare but do not enter the company’s reception area until 5 minutes before the interview; thereby demonstrating perfect punctuality!

Another tricky scenario is being asked an interview question that you simply cannot formulate a response to. Don’t be afraid to pause and think or ask if you can revisit the question later, by when you may have thought of an appropriate response that will get your message across. This is perfectly acceptable, as an interviewer wants you to think on your feet but doesn’t want to see you mess up your response.

As for the negotiation stage, you could be asked what your salary expectations are. Be prepared for this question and conduct your research in advance, as the worst case scenario is that you quote a ‘lowball’ figure and sell yourself short. Use evidence such as salary surveys to help present your case if necessary.

Remember, that an interview blunder is not the end of the world. An interviewer will be interested to see how you use tact and diplomacy to tackle the blunder, however, as this demonstrates how you may cope with such situations within the job.

Writing a high impact executive resume

To write a high impact executive resume, you must identify the key messages you wish to convey in advance and write your resume once your message in a clear and well-presented manner. Here’s how to write an impressive, high impact resume:

Use the right language
Try to convey leadership skills, behaviors, strategic thinking or other business skills when describing the achievements you have accrued throughout your career. Steer clear of examples of working under pressure or leading a team, which should be a given from someone of your caliber.

Use the right format
Use a clear, easy to read format and font. Remember that Arial and Times New Roman are favored. The most common file format is Microsoft Word.

Format is important
The best place for your personal information is the upper right hand corner. Use a personal email address rather than a work address too. Make the file name for your resume sensible too. Remember, at this stage, the smallest of details matter and help create a good impression.

Write a professional summary
Your professional summary will be noticed as it’s on the first half of the first page, so make sure it’s well written. Focus on your experience, knowledge and the skills you have acquired that set you apart from other executives.

Always put your experience in context too throughout your resume, explaining which skills and achievements apply to which job role. Focus on the past 3-5 years and use the second page to explain your experience and education in briefer detail. Ensure that you cover all of your education and work experience though, so there are no obvious gaps.

Be brief when describing education and training
Space on a resume is very valuable and is in short supply, so keep the details of your training and education brief. If you have attended a negotiation skills seminar, explain how you use negotiation in the workplace instead.

Alternatively, consider deploying the skills of executive resume writers. The Resume Center uses the services of professional resume writers, to give your resume the professional touch.