Categories
Interview Prep Tips

Amateur Resume Mistakes

Industry experts and eye-tracking studies agree that you have only a handful of seconds to make a good first impression with your resume. On average, recruiters and hiring managers spend only  six or seven seconds scanning a resume before deciding on what to do with it. In this tight window of time, small mistakes stand out. Makes sense to get rid of any amateur resume mistakes right?

Fortunately, the worst resume mistakes are also the easiest to avoid. Before applying to another position, check your resume against this list of avoidable mistakes. Then use Voomer to start prepping for the next step in the hiring process: interviews.

Not Using Spellcheck

Nothing ends up in the trash faster than a resume riddled with typos, grammatical errors, and misspellings. Spellcheck can catch most of these issues, so be sure to use it. But remember that running a basic spellcheck is the least you can do.

For a more thorough review, we recommend using Grammarly, a free online writing assistant with apps for Windows, Chrome, iOS, and Android. Grammarly’s free plan checks grammar, spelling, punctuation, conciseness, and tone. If you’d like a little extra help, Grammarly Premium offers tone suggestions, word-choice alternatives, and even full-sentence rewrites.

As great as Grammarly is, it’s still a good idea to manually proofread your resume. If you can get a couple of other people to look at it, too, all the better.

Omitting Contact Information

Your resume must feature your basic contact information. Otherwise, how will your potential new employer let you know you made the cut?

Fortunately, this section of your resume is pretty simple. Be sure to include both your email address and your phone number, at a minimum. Although you should include the city and state where you live, you do not need to list your full address.

Your contact information should be at the top of your resume, directly below your name. You can list all of your details on a single line, separated by vertical lines or interpuncts. Alternatively, you can use a multiline format that resembles the way contact details are listed at the top of a letter or the bottom of an email. If you have a LinkedIn profile, online portfolio, or personal website, it’s a good idea to include that, too.

Be sure to carefully review your contact information as part of your proofreading process. From a practical standpoint, there’s no difference between an error and an omission. Either one makes it impossible for an employer to schedule an interview with you.

Adding a Photo

Modeling and acting gigs aside, most job applications do not require a headshot. In fact, adding a photo to your resume can actually hurt your chances of being hired. 

Because employers’ hiring practices are subject to federal anti-discrimination laws, most recruiters are careful to avoid bias. Resumes with a photo make unconscious bias more likely, which in turn opens the door for a discrimination lawsuit. To avoid any appearance of discrimination, many recruiters immediately discard any resumes that include a headshot.

Beyond this, including a headshot can make you seem out of touch and distract from the substance of your resume. A photo also takes up valuable space that you could otherwise use to highlight your qualifications.

Choosing a Fancy Design

An eye-catching design might seem like a good way to stand out, but it’s more likely to harm your chances and distract from the body of your resume. Focus on optimizing your resume for applicant tracking system (ATS) software rather than trying to make it look cool.

Photos and other graphics can make it more difficult for an employer’s ATS to scan your resume and are a classic amateur resume mistake. Fancy templates, headers, and other unusual design elements can also interfere with the software.

To ensure that your resume makes it past the ATS screening, err on the side of boring and organized. Also, be sure to submit your resume as a PDF rather than an editable file type, such as a Word document or Google Doc with a .docx extension.

Cramming In Too Much

Many resume tips focus on what you should include on your resume: keywords from the job description, lots of action verbs, quantifiable results and accomplishments, details that are relevant to the job posting, and so on. However, it’s just as important to leave some empty space. If you cram in too much information, your resume will either be too long or too crowded to scan easily.

With that in mind, be selective about what you include. In many cases, less is more, so aim for one to two pages. Include enough details to highlight your qualifications without resorting to small fonts or cramped spacing. If you need to free up some space, start by excising information that is irrelevant or redundant. 

Forgetting to Trim or Remove Older Entries

When you first enter the workforce, you may have plenty of room to include several bullet points about each job in your work history and list all of your academic achievements. As time goes on, however, you may need to rethink some entries.

As time goes on, your work experience will begin to carry more weight than your educational background — especially if your most recent degree is decades old. Keep that in mind as you update your resume. Trim older entries to make room for your most recent and relevant experiences.

Using the Same Resume for Every Job

For the best results, update your resume every time you apply for a job. Highlight skills and experiences that line up neatly with the requirements listed in the job description. Incorporate keywords from the job posting, and do so in a way that sounds natural.

Remember that the best resume examples are deceptively simple. Although they feature a minimalist design, succinct bullet points, and plenty of white space, a lot of thought goes into creating them. Customizing your resume for each application takes time, but the extra effort is worth it.

Aim for a clear and concise resume that is error-free and easy to scan. By avoiding the mistakes above, you can ensure that your resume makes the most of that six-second window. 

Once your resume is ready, check out Voomer’s interview prep services. We use AI analysis, scientifically proven methods, and company-specific questions to help you prepare for your next video interview. Get started with a free evaluation today.

Categories
Interview Prep Tips

Avoidable Resume Mistakes

Looking for a job, applying, and interviewing can be a daunting process. You’re likely to apply to dozens of positions, and even if you’re among the most qualified, you still have to make a good impression in a few short paragraphs with your resume. So stay clear of these avoidable resume mistakes!

The average recruiter spends six seconds scanning a resume before deciding it’s worth reading. That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure yours is in tip-top shape and be ready for the interview process. 

A resume needs the right amount of information — not too much, and not too little. It should leave the reader wanting more — hopefully leading to a job interview.

As you’re applying for jobs, here are some tips to help you avoid resume mistakes that can turn off recruiters and keep yours at the top of the pile. Then, Voomer will help you ensure you’re ready to ace the interview process that your resume helps you land.

Contact Information

There’s no need to mention your full address on the resume. Only city and state are enough for recruiters to ascertain your location.

Don’t forget to add a professional email address and a working cellphone number.

Unless you’re targeting an artsy industry, don’t use graphics-heavy templates. They confuse readers — both humans and automated resume readers, commonly known as ATS.

Resume Sections

A resume has four main sections: executive summary, experience, education, and skills and interests.

Executive summary

Many job seekers are missing the biggest piece of the resume puzzle: the executive summary. This is a short paragraph in your resume that summarizes your value to a potential employer.

Do you remember the last time you read a book with a boring first page? Did you read the rest carefully, or did you skim it? The same thing happens when a recruiter reads resumes. If the first portion doesn’t grab them, the rest will likely be skipped over.

The executive summary shouldn’t be a block of text stating how or why you’re in a certain field. It should be two lines maximum. One line summarizing your career so far, and the second line stating what you want for the future. For example, ”I have 10 years of experience in a wide array of sales roles within the automotive industry. I believe I have the skills required for the next step in my career — a sales management role.”

Experience

The experience section of a resume is a key part of getting hired. But it can also be difficult to write. You want to highlight the past jobs you’ve held, but how can you explain the impact you made? Coming up with specific examples is the key to writing a great experience section.

Many job seekers have resumes that read like job descriptions because they are, quite simply, a collection of responsibilities. If you catch yourself writing “responsible for” anywhere, delete it.

Your resume should include quantifiable accomplishments and the positive results of your day-to-day work. 

For example, instead of:

  • Analyzed financial investments and reported to management.

Write:

  • Improved business competitiveness and leadership view of profitability by presenting insights on investment performance.

To do so, ask yourself the following questions:

  • External-facing result: Did you help acquire new business or improve client relations?
  • Internal-facing result: Did you revamp internal processes like employee hiring, warehouse organization, team collaboration, etc.?
  • Leadership: Did you coach/train/mentor/manage someone?

There are many ways to organize the experience section, but reverse chronological order is the most widely used and accepted. In this order, your most recent job comes first, followed by your second-last job, and so on. Organize your experience in bullet form for easier readability. Three bullet points are generally sufficient for each experience.

Many candidates mistakenly believe they have to mention every single professional experience, no matter how irrelevant or old. Instead, they should only mention the experiences relevant to their target industry.

Education

In your education section, add your degree major and if applicable, minor, name of the institution, and graduation year or anticipated graduation date. If you have a shining academic record, don’t hesitate to include your honors, GPA, and scholarship to impress your future employer.

What if you’re new to the workforce and don’t have much experience yet? Highlight your education section.

If you are starting your career, add in your extracurricular activities.

  • Were you part of any society?
  • Did you participate in notable social events or competitions?
  • Did you play sports?

Again, order this section reverse-chronologically and drop high school if you have an undergraduate degree.

Skills and Interests

Add in any volunteer work. More and more companies are using volunteer work as an indicator of candidate personality and a factor to judge their fit, especially for new graduates. Volunteer work shows that the candidate is more than a job seeker. Volunteerism can also become a vital source of proof of leadership and transferable skills for those without sufficient professional experience.

Add any certifications, courses, languages, etc. This helps the recruiter see your progression and gives the reader a sense of your growth as a professional. Just make sure it’s relevant to the job you’re targeting. For instance, some jobs prefer bilingual applicants due to a role’s responsibilities.

Add relevant hobbies. This is another way to instill personality and humanize a resume. A hiring manager is more likely to remember you as a hiker, guitarist, or dog lover. This typically works best for fresh graduates.

Conclusion

This is a tough time to be job hunting. But don’t let that stop you from pursuing your career goals. The job market will bounce back. After you’ve created a job-winning resume that secures you an interview, are you all set to ace it and land a great position?

Ditch expensive interview coaching services and try Voomer. Voomer is a free tool that provides questions specific to your target company and shares AI-powered but personalized feedback to your answers. Whether you’re preparing for your in-person or video interview, try our services here.

After you’ve written your resume, if you need a hand with your cover letter, we’ve got you covered!

Categories
Interview Prep Tips

Job Interview Tips For You To Stand Out

Most recruiters today use structured interviews. They ask candidates the same set of questions to better gauge their responses. This provides a more objective way to compare and contrast job seekers based on their answers. It also means that you need great interview tips to beat these interviews!

That’s good news for those looking for employment because you can better prepare yourself to answer structured interview questions. There are proven ways to answer questions that can help increase your odds of getting hired.

Whether or not you take part in a structured interview, here are a few job interview tips to help you ace your interview. After you are done with this article, head over to Voomer so you can practice answering interview questions and you’ll get AI-powered feedback on your answers.

Do Your Research

You want to show your interviewer that you’ve done your homework. Fortunately, there is so much information available online that it’s easy to visit the company’s website and look at any recent news items and other information about it.

Research the values and principles of the company you’re applying to. Companies want to find people that fit their culture, so it helps when you know what that culture is. It can help you frame responses in a way that fits with the way they do business.

Study the job listing carefully. You’ll want to make sure you touch on the key requirements during your discussion to relate how your experience matches with what they need. You may want to make a note about specific keywords and phrasing, but it’s most important that you can share relevant examples that show you’re a good fit.

Start Strong and Watch Your Body Language

We’d all like to think we get hired on our merits and skills, but there are other factors at play. Many interviewers make up their minds quickly, picking up on subconscious signals that may impact their assessment. 

A third of interviewers say they know whether they plan to move forward with a candidate within the first 90 seconds of meeting them. That means, in less time than it takes to read this article, recruiters may have already made up their minds about you.

You need to start strong. That means being on time, being dressed properly, watching your body language, and being positive.

  • Make sure to maintain eye contact during in-person interviews.
  • During video interviews, look directly at the camera and limit any visual distractions around you.
  • Watch your posture and avoid nervous habits like touching your face or hair.
  • Smile and don’t be afraid to laugh! 
  • Be enthusiastic and energetic.

Use the STAR Method for Answering Questions

Here’s one of the most powerful tips for a successful interview. The STAR method is a structured way to respond that helps demonstrate your expertise. STAR stands for:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result

Try to think about your response in these terms. Describe a specific situation that you encountered and the goals of the task. Then, discuss the actions you took to meet those goals and the results. You want to show quantifiable results whenever possible.

For example, you might be asked what you would do to grow sales. Your answer might be something like:

  • Situation: In my current job, we’re focused on developing new business. We have aggressive goals, and I’ve been able to meet or exceed every one of them.
  • Task: I’m responsible for finding my own leads and making sure I always have my pipeline full.
  • Action: I set aside an hour every day to prospect and pre-qualify potential customers. Then I do a little online research before contacting them. While sales is a numbers game, you can’t afford to waste your time on prospects that aren’t a good fit for what you’re selling.
  • Result: I consistently bring in the most new business at my company. We have sales contests each quarter, and I’ve won them three out of the last few quarters.

Ask Intelligent Questions

At the end of the interview, you may be given a chance to ask questions. If so, have a few ready ahead of time. It’s another opportunity to demonstrate both your interest and your knowledge. A few sample questions might include:

  • Why is this position open?
  • If you could pinpoint one thing that would determine whether the person you hire will be great at their job, what would it be?
  • If you hire me, what goals would you want me to achieve in my first month, two months, or six months?
  • What is the biggest challenge for your company?
  • What do you love about working here?
  • What is the next step in your hiring process?

Don’t ask about things that you can answer yourself. If it’s public information or on the company’s website, you should know already.

After the Interview

When the interview is concluded, take a moment to thank the recruiter. This interview tip might seem corny, but they’ve invested their time in learning about you and you should show some appreciation. Sending a follow-up note or email thanking them and mentioning specifics from your conversation can make a big impression.

It sounds simple, but people rarely send thank-you notes for job interviews anymore. Doing so can help you stand out and reinforce the positive points from your interview.

Practice and Prepare to Be Your Best Self

You don’t want the first time you’re thinking of the right answer to be in front of the interviewer. Practice ahead of time by thinking about what types of questions will be asked and how to ace a job interview.

Especially in structured interviews, you’re likely to hear many of the same questions. Here are some of the more common ones, with links to some tips on how to answer them best.

This interview tip is key since it’s important to have answers ready that always come back to meeting company goals. This is where your research and preparation pay off.

Voomer can give you a significant advantage when you’ve got a crucial job interview lined up. Using scientifically proven methods and artificial intelligence-enhanced video analysis, you get instant video feedback on how you’re doing so you can refine your performance for when it matters most. 

Voomer also has interview questions from thousands of different companies so you can see the types of questions they’ve asked in the past. Start practicing today!

Categories
Interview Prep Tips

The Guide to a Great Job Interview First Impression

A great interviewer comes to an interview with the basics already, having reviewed your resume and cover letter. They may have a positive impression of you, but the moment that cements this is the job interview first impression: You communicate many things in that first 60 seconds! 

Practicing for your interview with a service like Voomer can help you make the most of that critical first impression and feel natural while you do it.

Start With the Basics of a Job Interview First Impression

Punctuality

Being on time may not be particularly tough, but it’s worth the extra effort on interview day for those who struggle to get places on time.

Walking through the door calmly two minutes before your interview is a totally different impression than rushing through two minutes late.

Follow Dress Code or a Touch More Formal

It’s entirely fair to check in ahead of time about dress code expectations, but if you aren’t sure, default to a little more formal: a blazer and formal dress or a suit, even if it is a simple one, are likely to work well for most interview situations.

Following the dress code makes you more comfortable when you arrive.

You can also put attention into your clothes in ways that come across well: Choose clothes that fit you nicely, aren’t wrinkled or stained, and are comfortable enough for you not to fidget or adjust them.

Practice wearing them ahead of time if you worry about any of these possibilities.

Know About the Company and the Job

Coming through the door — or virtual waiting room — you want to know as much as possible about this job and the company.

One of the best ways to ease nerves and feel better about your upcoming interview is to know so much about the job description and the company’s website that you’ll be able to ask good questions and feel connected to everything the interviewer mentions. 

Minimize Distractions

It’s easy to look at your phone to check the time or a message, but checking your phone during that all-important first impression has an outsized impact.

Instead, turn your phone down before entering the building, and don’t look at it again until the interview is over. There are exceptions if you are waiting for a critical call, but recognize that being distracted by anything, phone included, can negatively affect your first impression.

Prepare for First Moments: How To Make a Job Interview Good First Impression

Good Eye Contact

From the start, make eye contact with your interviewer. If you’re used to looking away from people, practice before the day of, but making eye contact is one of the best ways to show someone you’re giving them your full attention.

Enthusiasm and Alertness

Enthusiasm doesn’t have to be putting an exclamation point at the end of everything you say, but rather just a fully attentive, awake attitude.

Coming to an interview visibly exhausted or distracted will come across poorly — as if the interview doesn’t matter to you — and that can be hard to come back from later in the interview.

Firm Handshake

Find a friend and practice “meeting” them for the first time. You want your handshake to be firm and brief but also natural and not a source of awkwardness.

Practice offering a handshake and greeting someone simultaneously — it may feel silly, but it’s way better to be practiced and comfortable for that key job interview first impression. 

Overall Positivity With Mirroring as Needed

While you don’t have to be thrilled with every detail of the job, you want to show positivity — or at least neutral pleasantness — about most of what is said in the interview.

If you come in with a frustrated look or a frown, your interviewer will be focused on that energy rather than on all your great qualities.

Of course, if your interviewer comes to the interview with negative energy, such as a downcast expression or sadness, you should and can mirror them, asking if they are alright.

Positivity is the default for interviews, but mirroring (showing you are noticing the other person’s mood) can also help if, for some reason, your interviewer isn’t coming to the experience in a positive headspace. 

Sustain Your First Impression

Confidently Discuss Your Background With a Strengths Focus

One of the most important things to remember in an interview is that you are the expert on your experiences, and you know what made this job seem like a good fit.

You aren’t here to prove you’re the best at something, but rather that your unique combination of training and experience will fit this job perfectly.

As such, discuss your accomplishments confidently and turn any setbacks into lessons you’ve learned that make you a well-rounded candidate.

Use the STAR Method To Offer Thorough Responses Without Rambling

Interviewees often use the STAR method to answer questions: it stands for Situation, Task at hand, Action you took, and Result.

Learning how to tell work-related anecdotes this way does two things. First, it makes it very easy for the interviewer to see your role in a given situation and helps you not to ramble or clam up during an interview. 

Practicing interview questions using this structure will help ensure you’ll answer with all relevant details — and without going on for too long. 

Ready To Practice Job Interview First Impressions? Meet Voomer

The importance of the first interaction can sometimes make people nervous about interviewing for a job. We all feel more comfortable when we’ve practiced a little more, and Voomer is the perfect platform to practice and do interview prep. 

We help job searchers like yourself to feel confident and easygoing so you can focus on sharing your unique story with your interviewer. Powered by AI and with lots of customization, Voomer is ready to help you become truly interview-ready.