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This document can be read in two ways. You can either read it all the way through, as you would a paper version, or you can click on any of these links listed below to jump ahead to a particular section.

Creating a Winning Resume

Display Qualities that Distinguishes You from Others
Dynamic Resumes are Concise, but Powerful 
Choose Your Words Effectively
Action Words, Adjectives and Nouns
Evaluating Your Resume 
Sample  Resume

Successful Interviewing Strategies

Preparing for the interview
The Telephone Interview That Gets You Invited 
Face to Face Interviewing Techniques that Succeed
Navigating Difficult and Probing Questions
On the grill: A Sampler of Interview Questions
Questions You Would like to Ask the Interviewer?

Following-Up After the Interview-A Competitive Edge

Review and Evaluate Your Interview Immediately 
Thank You Letters That Get Results 

Time to Resign-Your Exit Strategy 

Beware of the Counter Offer

Creating a Winning Resume

A good resume presents a thumbnail sketch of your experience. A winning resume grabs the reader's attention and increases your chances of being called in for an interview.

Display Qualities that Distinguishes You from Others

Great resumes catch the attention of hiring managers by attracting them with the following components:

  • a brief description of your qualifications, strengths and skills
  • selected accomplishments and your most relevant industry expertise
  • work experience in reverse chronological order (begin with most recent, include titles and dates)
  • computer and related technical skills
  • college, post-graduate and continuing education
  • mention military experience, but not in as great a detail as civilian experience
  • professional memberships and activities
  • foreign languages

Dynamic Resumes are Concise, but Powerful

Employers simply want to know, where have you been and what you can do for them. Your resume is an opportunity to sell yourself skills and accomplishments. 

Gather and check all necessary information, such as dates of graduation and employment, list of accomplishments. It is important, that every bit of information must be truthful, or you will lose the opportunity to get the job if discrepancies arise during the interview or reference check.  

Organize your resume effectively. The facts should be evident at a glance; your name, companies and job titles should be in bold with dates of service and location. Objectives should focus directly on the position you are applying for. 

Objectives that are too general or not on target are often used to disqualify good candidates that may otherwise have been considered.  

Job experience should list the current or most recent first . Starting and ending dates should include month and year. Include a brief description of the company's product or service. Show promotions by new dates, new titles and/or new departments.

Job descriptions should include:

  • Number of employees in the facility and if it is union or nonunion
  • Whether or not you supervise any employees, and if so, how many 
  • Whom you report to by title 
  • Description of your duties, daily activities, and accomplishments
  • Include technologies, systems, regulations, etc., that you are familiar with or have implemented.

Focus only on your past 10 to 12 years of relevant work experience, then summarize any previous experience. There should be no more than two pages. If the recruiter or employer requests additional information, it can be provided with an addendum. 

Under Additional Training provide a short list of your most relevant courses such as Total Quality Management, High Performance Work Systems, Kepner Tregoe, Six Sigma, Training the Trainer. 

List memberships in professional societies or organizations that show your interest to stay informed and current about new trends, technologies and techniques under Professional Affiliations. 

Do not include: the title Resume or Curriculum Vitae at the top of your resume, salary, names of references, reason for leaving, work number or personal information such as age, marital status, physical appearance, or personal habits.

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Choose Your Words Effectively

Use action verbs that describe your skills, abilities, and accomplishments. Use Adjectives and Nouns that describe yourself positively and accurately.

Avoid using pronouns such as I, me, my or we. Use the abbreviated third person to describe your experience. This allows you to factually list your accomplishments without sounding like you are bragging. It also saves space and avoids redundancy. 
For example, change:

  • I coordinated the installation and start up of 2 new packaging lines.
  • I also developed and trained employees on operation, quality, and safety procedures for the new lines.
to the abbreviated third person:
  • Coordinated the installation and start up of 2 new packaging lines.
  • Developed and trained employees on operation, quality, and safety procedures for the new lines.

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Evaluating Your Resume 

  • Name, address and home phone number are at the top of each page highlighted by larger and bolded type
  • Address and home phone number are complete and correct, with zip codes and area codes
  • All entries emphasize a capability or accomplishment
  • Descriptions use active verbs, and tense is consistent: current job is in the present tense; past jobs are in the past tense
  • Capitalization, punctuation, and date formats are consistent
  • There are no spelling errors. Do not solely rely on spell check.
  • Your best assets in each category are listed first
  • The page can be easily reviewed: categories are clear, text is indented
  • The dates of employment and promotion are easy to find, understand and consistently formatted
  • Bolding, italics, and capitalization are used minimally and consistently
  • Margins and line spacing keep the page from looking too crowded

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Action Words - describe your skills, abilities, and accomplishments

headed up

Adjectives and Nouns -that describe you positively and accurately.

able to
communication skills
a negotiator
other cultures
handle stress
able to listen
a supervisor
work well with

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Sample Resume

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Successful Interviewing Strategies

Preparing for the interview

Successful interviewing requires a proactive approach. Once the interview is arranged, a series of steps are taken in order to increase your chances of having a competitive edge over other qualified candidates. Careful and thorough planning will show the company that you are the one that should receive the offer.

  • Brief yourself on the company that you are going to interview with. It is important to gather information about the company's sales growth, recent plant and product developments, future vision, and stock performance. The Library and Internet are excellent information sources. 
  • Learn as much as possible about the job opening specifications. This will enable you to prepare for potential questions and let the company know where you feel you could immediately contribute.
  • Familiarize yourself on the industry of the company. Know about industry trends, growth patterns, and competitors of the company.
  • Review your resume and reflect on your career. Immerse yourself in past strengths and successes. Remember what you liked and learned about each position and manager. Be ready to stress those strengths and successes during the interview and don't dwell on the shortcomings. Build confidence through positive thinking.
  • Focus your nervous energy in a positive direction by being physically and mentally prepared. It is a good idea to exercise moderately (do not over do it and injure yourself). It is important to get several days of good sleep before the interview.
  • Assemble your interview kit. It should contain: the company dossier, several copies of your resume, pad of paper and pen, contact phone numbers in case you get detained on the way to the interview, reference phone numbers and addresses, a list of job related questions, and directions to the interview.

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Create a Positive Impression During the Interview

Successful interviewing requires that you make a positive, enthusiastic, and lasting impression on the company during the interview. Following a few simple rules can help you avoid unfavorable reviews.

The Telephone Interview That Gets You Invited

Interviewing these days usually occurs in two stages; the Telephone Interview and the Face to Face Interview. The telephone interview is the trial run for the face to face and is an opportunity you must not falter on; your happiness and prosperity depend on it. During your first substantive contact with the employer, he will only have his ears to judge you with. You can overcome this by following these basic rules:

  • Be prepared by having a copy of your resume, notepad and pencil near your phone.
  • Formulate some questions about the position that will not only allow you to show interest in the position, but also to showcase your relevant experience.
  • Allow the interviewer to do most of the talking. Listen carefully. Avoid yes and no answers. Make your responses brief yet thorough, using specific examples.
  • Show enthusiasm. Companies are looking for enthusiastic, energetic employees. Your tone of voice and your answers should reflect these qualities throughout the interview.
  • Do not ask about salary, benefits or vacation time: that comes later. This interview should be used to sell your self and your skills. If you are asked directly about your salary, answer factually giving them your current salary information. Let the interviewer know you are negotiable.
  • As the conversation is winding down, let the interviewer know that you are interested and that you can definitely make a contribution.
  • If you have not already been invited to meet the interviewer, now is the time. Take the initiative. Ask, "when can we get together?"
  •  Follow up the telephone interview by sending a thank you note. Your note should show enthusiasm, and reflect how you can start contributing right away. This is also a good time to overcome any rough spots that may have occurred.

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Face to Face Interviewing Techniques That Succeed

  • Dressing appropriately and professionally matters even if you are asked to dress "business casual". In asking you to do so, the company is trying to portray itself as human and friendly. You on the other hand are trying to portray yourself as polished and professional. Men should wear a sports coat and tie. It is appropriate to take the tie off if invited to later in the interview. Woman should wear a business suit such as a jacket with matching skirt or pants and moderate high heels. Your appearance should be well groomed. Do not neglect to trim nails, cut hair, shine shoes, and other obvious items.
  • Bring your interview kit. It should contain: the company dossier, several copies of your resume, pad of paper and pen, contact phone reference phone numbers and addresses, a list of job related questions, and directions to the interview.
  • Be punctual. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview. Arriving late starts you off on a negative track from which you may never recover. Keep the interviewer's number handy; notify them immediately if you have travel complications.
  • Give a firm handshake, first impressions are lasting impressions. When greeting the interviewer, it is important that you look the Interviewer in the eye, smile, and give a firm handshake. This shows that you are enthusiastic, assertive and confident. Do not offer a limp hand.
  • Absolutely never smoke during the interview, even if the interviewer smokes. Remember, even if you are having lunch or dinner, you are still interviewing, so again; Do not smoke or drink alcoholic even if the interviewer does . Avoid looking at your watch.
  • Maintain eye contact while the interviewer is talking and Listen Carefully. Nodding your head occasionally shows your interest, validates their comments, and encourages them to continue. Be ready to respond to the interviewer's questions. If you feel you don't understand a question, ask them to repeat it.
  • Show your interest and knowledge of the company by asking Good Questions about the company. This where your homework pays off.
  • Give concise answers when asked questions about your professional, technical and industry skills. Avoid giving a yes or no answer which is quickly forgotten. Follow up your answer with a brief example. This will leave a more lasting impression .
  • The company would like to know if you are the kind of person who will do whatever it takes to help them survive and prosper. Be prepared to give them a brief example of when you went an extra mile for your employer.
  • Be prepared to give brief examples of your problem solving skills and the resulting benefit. List the key qualities such as your education, training, or skills which helped you tackle the problem.
  • It is important to convey that you are a team player who gets along well with others and is tolerant of other opinions and beliefs.
  • Ask about problems, challenges, projects, deadlines, and pressure points that are impacting the company or department. Show that you can contribute immediately.
  • Do not speak negatively about your past or present employer or supervisor. Project your loyalty, reliability and trustworthiness by saying only positive, complimentary things about your employer. 
  • Avoid Talking about Salary or Vacation time. Stress the job opportunities, challenges, and future development. If asked, give them your current salary and bonus information. If pressed for desired salary range, let the interviewer know you are negotiable. It is important to show that you are more interested in what you can bring to the company than what they can give you.
  • Towards the end of the interview ask if there are any questions or concerns that you can address. It is better to address issues while they are still fresh and easier to remedy, especially if it is just a simple misunderstanding.
  • In making a graceful exit, let them know this is a job that you can do, and that you immediately can start contributing to their goals. Tell you would like to pursue this opportunity further. Ask them when can you speak again and if there is anything you can do to insure their strong consideration.

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Navigating Difficult and Probing Questions

In today's economy companies have been required to operate with a leaner workforce. Employees throughout the company's organization have been given increased responsibility as well as a greater share the work load. Companies are looking for specific attributes from each employee that will help the company to achieve its goals. During the interviewing process, the candidate will be asked to show that they have the ability to:

  • get the job done
  • willingness to go the extra mile
  • need little supervision and are easy to manage
    posses business acumen or understanding of what it takes to help the company succeed
  • demonstrate that they are an effective team player
    proven and creative problem solver
  • work hard to increase profitability, while providing a quality product or service. 

Understanding what the interviewer is seeking, will enable you to formulate a concise answer that will address the interviewer's concerns and give them enough information to form a positive opinion. The successful candidate will give themselves a competitive edge by formulating a plan that demonstrates their skills, professionalism and dedication and by practicing answers to these questions until they can do so smoothly and succinctly. Your answers should reflect your: desire to get things done, enthusiasm to accept challenges, determination to see things through, ability to operate efficiently and profitably, and the confidence and ability to work with people of all levels. Remember while you are maneuvering this minefield, avoid mis-steps and missed opportunities; your answers should be organized and positive, with a supporting example that reflect your abilities. You are less apt to make an irreversible mistake if you limit your answer to 3 minutes. You may ask them if they need any more details if the situation warrants it. We have provided a short list of tough and probing questions in order to give you with an sampling of what you might be asked in an interview. Challenge yourself to answer these questions in 3 minutes or less.

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On the Grill- A Sampler of Interview Questions

  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Describe your typical day?
  • How does your experience fit this job?
  • How does your job relate to the goals of your company?
  • Are you willing to go where the company sends you?
  • What do you like or dislike about your job?
  • Have you done the best work you are capable of ?
  • What would you like to be doing 5 years from now?
  • What are your biggest accomplishments?
  • How do you organize and plan your projects?
  • Can you work under pressure?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What interests you most about this job?
  • Describe a difficult problem that you had to deal with?
  • How has your job prepared you to take on greater responsibility?
  • What do you like or dislike about your boss?
  • Describe a situation where your work was criticized?
  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What bothers you at work?
  • What do you and your supervisor disagree about?
  • How well do you feel your boss rated your job performance?
  • How do you make your opinions known when you disagree with a supervisor?
  • Tell me a story?
  • What is the worst idea or mistake that you have made?
  • How do you get along with people that are different than you?
  • Why do you want to leave your current job?

These questions are designed to find out who you really are. Keep your answers pertinent and positive. Refrain from saying anything negative about your company, boss, or co-workers. Resist blaming anyone for disappointments. Turn negatives into positives. Employers want to hire happy, enthusiastic people, who can get the job done and get along with everyone. Your answers should reflect these qualities.

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Questions You Would like to Ask the Interviewer?

In order to make an informed decision you will need to get some important information from the company. Usually there comes a point in the interview when you are asked if you have any question. Use this opportunity wisely by asking intelligent questions that show your interest in the company and the position, and reinforce what you can do for them. Do not ask about salary, bonuses, or vacation at this time. Your first priority is in getting an offer. Without it you have nothing. You can negotiate your package once you have an offer. Here are some questions that you might ask:

  • Why is the job open?
  • Why did the interviewer join the company? What keeps them there?
  • To whom would you report?
  • What would your first assignment be?
  • What are the opportunities for growth with this company?
  • What has been the company's growth pattern over the last 5 years?
  • Is the company profitable?
  • What is the company's vision?
  • Is there a written job description?
  • How regularly are performance evaluations given?

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Following-Up After the Interview-A Competitive Edge

Successful interview and follow-up requires that you leave not only a positive and but also a lasting impression that gives you a competitive edge. The employer will probably interview several people for the position you are interested in. During the course of these interviews the memory of each candidate begins to fade. The impression you worked so hard to make will dim with each subsequent interview. You must develop a strategy to keep your name and skills at the forefoot of the hiring manager's mind.

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Review and Evaluate Your Interview Immediately. 

The follow up begins immediately after you leave the interview. As soon as you are able to, sitting in your car, the airport, or on a plane pull out the notepad in your interview kit and answer these questions:

  • Whom did you meet? (Names and Titles)
  • What does the job entail?
  • What are the first projects, the biggest challenges?
  • Why can you do the job?
  • What aspects of the interview went poorly? Why?
  • What is the agreed upon next step?
  • What was said the last few minutes of the interview?
Even though it may be difficult, now is the time to evaluate any aspects of the interview that did not go well. If there are any rough spots you must recognize them and overcome them in your follow-up procedure. This is done in the form of a typewritten Thank You letter.

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Thank You Letters That Get Results

The thank you letter is written to acknowledge the meeting and express appreciation for the time the interviewer took out of their busy schedule, and to keep you fresh in the interviewer's mind.

  • Send a one page, type-written thank you letter to the main interviewer with a courtesy copy to personnel within 24 hrs. of the interview. If the position still interests you let them know you would like to pursue it further.
  • Your letter should refer to an issue or topic of conversation that took place sometime during the interview. Mention the main people that you interviewed with by name. Do not send a general form letter. Do so will negatively impact on your image.
  • Set your self apart from other candidates by letting the interviewer know: that you were impressed by the organization and the people, have great interest and enthusiasm for the position, are confidant that you can do the job, and would be challenged to do your best in this environment.

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Time to Resign-Your Exit Strategy

Once you have accepted the offer its time to develop your exit strategy. When its time to tender your resignation do so firmly by letting them know it is irreversible, and graciously by letting them know how much you have appreciated your time with them. A two week notice is adequate, Be careful not to  burn your bridges with a former employer, you never know when you will see them further down the road. 

Resigning can be emotionally difficult at times. Its easy to feel apprehensive about change, especially if there is a move involved. If you feel yourself about to get "cold feet", remind yourself of all the reasons you wanted to change; why you went through the trouble of painstakingly putting your resume together and preparing for a successful interview. Think of your opportunity to grow and be challenged, as opposed to staying behind and possibly becoming stagnant. Once you recognize your anxiety for what it is, you will be able to overcome it and move on to a new and exciting opportunity. 

If your Company is greatly disadvantaged by your resignation he may resort to offering you a Counter Offer. While you may feel obligated and/or flattered, we strongly advise you, 

Beware of the Counter-Offer-Your Whole Career Is at Stake.

Consider this:

  • Your loyalty will be questioned. The possibility of a promotion is extremely limited for someone who has previously committed to leave.
  • Is your present employer just buying time with a raise until he/she can locate a replacement. Suppose you are offered an annual raise of say $3,000. If they find a replacement for you in 60 days, then the actual cost to them is only $500.
  • Will more money change everything in your present job? Consider the new opportunity you will be giving up that looked so favorable when you accepted it.
  • Review in your mind the reasons you wanted to make a change in the first place.
  • Statistics compiled by the National Employment Association confirm the fact that over 80% of those people who elected to accept a "Counter Offer" are not with their company six months later.

While a counter offer can be very flattering, think carefully about all these facts before making a final decision. A mistake could be very costly to your professional growth.

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