The biggest mistake in interviewing is not being fully prepared. Job seekers should be using every conceivable means to prepare for the interview and learn about their prospective employer. Interviewing is a skill that requires preparation and practice. Preparation will make the difference between receiving an offer and getting rejected.
Horizon Hospitality has provided you with some of the best tips for resume development, interview preparation and resigning your position with dignity.
This 5-minute video will help you create an effective resume. A great resume won’t land you your next position, but it could cost you the opportunity to even be considered! This video will help make resume preparation a less daunting task, and provide some tips for format and content to help get you started.
Feel free to download and use any of the templates below to create your custom resume.
- Resume Template (Contemporary)
- Resume Template (Functional)
- Resume Template (Traditional)
- Resume Action Verbs
- Basic Cover Letter
- Thank You Letter
Research shows that only one interview is granted for every 200 resumes received by the average employer. Research also tells us that your resume will be quickly scanned, rather than read. Ten to 20 seconds is all the time you have to persuade a prospective employer to read further. What this means is that the decision to interview a candidate is usually based on an overall first impression of the resume, a quick screening that so impresses the reader and convinces them of the candidate’s qualifications that an interview results. As a result, the top half of the first page of your resume will either make you or break you.
The resume is a tool with one specific purpose: To win an interview. (If it does what the fantasy resume did, it works.) If it doesn’t, it isn’t an effective resume. A resume is an advertisement, nothing more, nothing less.
A great resume doesn’t just tell a prospective employer what you have done but makes the same assertion that all good ads do: If you buy this product, you will get these specific, direct benefits. It convinces the employer that you have what it takes to be successful in this new position.
It is a mistake to think of your resume as a history of your past, as a personal statement or as some sort of self-expression. Sure, most of the content of any resume is focused on your job history, but should be written from the intention to create interest, to persuade the employer to call you. If you write with that goal, your final product will be very different than if you write to inform or catalog your job history.
Recommended Resume Structure
Objective. The “Objective” should wake up a hiring authority and make them immediately interested. This first sentence conveys some very important and powerful messages: “I want exactly the job you are offering. I am a superior candidate because I recognize the qualities that are most important to you, and I have them.”
Summary. The “Summary” or “Summary of Qualifications” consists of several concise statements that focus the reader’s attention on the most important qualities, achievements and abilities you have to offer. Those qualities should be the most compelling demonstrations of why they should hire you instead of the other candidates.
Jobs. List jobs in reverse chronological order. Don’t go into detail on the jobs early in your career; focus on the most recent and/or relevant jobs.
Education. List education in reverse chronological order, degrees or licenses first, followed by certificates and advanced training. Set degrees apart so they are easily seen. Put in boldface whatever will be most impressive. Don’t include any details about college except your major and distinctions or awards you have won, unless you are still in college or just recently graduated.
Awards. If the only awards received were in school, put these under the Education section. Mention what the award was for if you can (or just “for outstanding accomplishment” or “outstanding performance”). This section is almost a must, if you have received awards.
Professional Affiliations. Include only those that are current, relevant and impressive. Include leadership roles if appropriate. This is a good section for communicating your status as a member of a minority targeted for special consideration by employers, or for showing your membership in an association that would enhance your appeal as a prospective employee.
We do not recommend including anything about Hobbies, Personal Interests or References.
We are pleased to provide our candidates with valuable information on How To Get Hired.
This 10-minute video will help to ensure you have an effective interview. These best practices are all designed to keep the decision resting with you for next steps!
Preparing for Your Interviews
For a face-to-face meeting with a prospective employer:
- Arrive 15 minutes early.
- Dress professionally and conservatively. Navy or dark gray business suit for men. Conservatively cut business dress or suit for women.
- Introduce yourself with a firm handshake and sincere smile while maintaining eye contact.
- Always be positive and never speak negatively about a prior employer.
- Listen carefully to questions and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if needed.
- Be honest! If between jobs or out of the work force for a while, simply say so. State the reasons, such as more schooling, foreign travel, family care or attempt to change careers.
- Be clear and concise with your responses.
- Always be confident and enthusiastic.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practice the anticipated questions that may be asked and your answers to those questions. Be sure to practice these steps out loud to yourself before the interview.
- What are the duties and responsibilities of the position I’m applying for? This is an excellent icebreaker question for the hiring authority and a great start to a successful interview. What percentage of my job is dedicated to administration and management? (This should = 100%.)
- What is my number one priority that has to be done before I leave each day? Why? (Priorities are personal.)
- What are the goals for the position? What obstacles would prevent me from reaching my goals?
- What are the short- and long-term goals set for the person in this position?
Don’t forget to have questions for the hiring authority too. Questions must be written out before the interview, while avoiding the topic of compensation and benefits for the first interview.
Discussing Your Salary
Beware! This is a trap question. If the question is brought up, a very good response is “I would like as much as the position will pay” OR “I am currently making $_____. Although I would like an increase, I don’t know enough about the opportunity to answer that fairly.”
Be very careful that you don’t short yourself. Be sure to keep in mind your base salary, performance bonuses, benefits, etc.
Ask for the Job!
“I haven’t interviewed in a while, what is the next step? Can we conclude our business today if all goes well?” OR summarize what you’ve done that ties in with the new position and ask, “Do I have the qualifications you’re looking for?” Then remain silent for an answer. If the hiring authority says, “I’m looking at other people,” you say, “How do my qualifications match the people you’re considering?”
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