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Getting Hired: From Resume to Interview

Perhaps one of your 2020 new year’s resolutions involves a career change, with your sights set on a promotion, new position, or employment with a different company.

While the first step to getting hired is a successful resume, the process from submitting an initial application to earning an interview involves several key steps, each with its own crucial elements for advancement.

All parts of the new-job journey—the resume, phone and/or in-person interviews, and final reference/online check—require thorough preparation, knowledge of current trends, and a polished, confident delivery.

The helpful hints below can help you navigate through the hiring process—from resume to interview—with success. As with any new endeavor, planning and know-how are essential to accomplishing your goal.

  1. Resume:

  • Align your accomplishments and deliverables with the job post you have your eye on to convey how your aptitudes and previous successes would positively impact the company

  • Quantify your accomplishments with specific numbers, statistics, and percentages whenever possible (example: “Oversaw team of 15 sales managers” and “Increased team sales by 25%”)

  • Go beyond job responsibilities to show how you exceeded expectations at your last job due to your innovation, dedication, and leadership

  • Avoid red flags such as typos, spelling errors, passive verbs, and employment gaps

  • Spend time reviewing your resume so you are an expert when it comes to discussing it in further detail; be comfortable and able to speak to whatever you included on it

  1. Phone Interview:

  • The interviewer will be looking to see how well you fit with the company and how you can bring success to the position

  • Each question you are asked has a motive or purpose to clarify why and how you are the best candidate for this job and company

  • Prepare yourself to answer questions you may potentially be asked during this first round of the interview process:

    • Why are you looking for a new job?

    • Are you applying with other companies?

    • Why this job and why this company?

    • What do you want to know about this position and/or this company?

    • What do you want to share about yourself?

    • Can you elaborate more about ______ included on your resume?

    • What do you bring to the table as an applicant for this position?

    • How can you contribute to the company’s success?

    • What are your salary expectations?

  • Again…know your resume’s content and be ready to talk about it in depth

  • Have a few questions ready yourself to ask about the company, position, expected short- and long-term deliverables, and work culture

  1. In-Person Interview:

  • Again…the interviewer will be assessing your match with the position and the company, your cultural fit, and how your skillsets and previous career accomplishments can positively impact company growth and success

  • Prepare to answer the same questions encountered during the phone interview above, plus more in-depth interrogations:

    • Discuss a previous challenge or failure, how you handled it, the outcome, and what you learned.

    • When was a time you received professional criticism or a negative response to something you did at work? How did you resolve it?

    • Describe a time when you applied your innovation or an approach that involved thinking outside the box.

    • What are your strengths?

    • What are your weaknesses?

    • What are your personal interests or hobbies?

    • What do you project for your future?

  • Expect a question about your salary requirements; for this one, avoid giving a specific amount, indicate you are flexible, and ask what they have in mind, if you can; you can prepare for this question by researching typical salaries for this position with this company and other companies, or industry norms based on your aptitudes, education, and experience

  • For discussing your strengths, be prepared with a few and how your hard and soft skills led to success; as for your weaknesses, discuss one or two and how they were learning experiences leading to future success after reflection, self-awareness, and determination; spin negatives into positives

  • Again…know your resume inside and out so you can discuss points beyond what you have presented on paper

  • Familiarize yourself with the details of the job description and how it aligns with your aptitudes and previous successes

  • Research the company, and if possible, talk to current and former employees, so you can discuss key elements such as its mission, strategic plan, on-going projects, accomplishments, work environment/culture, job demands, training and advancement opportunities, and vision, as well as the company’s competitors and industry trends

  • The interviewer or recruiter may take notes during the interview

  • The interviewer may ask for clarification to your responses; remember, it is fine to pause for a moment to think before you answer

  • Again…arm yourself with some questions about the company, position, short- and long-term deliverables, and work culture, as well as what it takes to attain success at this position and what previous employees have done to achieve success in this capacity

  1. Reference and Online Checks:

  • Be sure to include personal and professional references that will speak on your behalf positively and with specifics, as a reference with a neutral response that is unwilling to discuss you in a positive light or somewhat in-depth can be a red flag for interviewers

  • 70% of recruiters head online to check out an applicant’s social media presence, with 57% of them seeing something online that influenced them not to hire the candidate; depending on what you reveal about your personal and professional lives online, this can be a positive or a negative part of the process (

All About Writing is here to help with your new resume, resume rewrite, resume update, or CV, as well as supplementary resume services such as cover letters, post-interview thank-you letters, references lists, bios, and LinkedIn profiles. We assist with every phase of the process, from assessing your strengths and brainstorming strategies through to writing, revising, and proofreading content.

Our in-person consultations, expertise, and commitment to client communication are extremely beneficial in developing effective content aimed at achieving each client’s goals.


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