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Friday March 31st 2017

Practical tips on resume writing and interview skills from a local PMET

Hi Gilbert,

Can’t contribute money to help your website so I hope some original articles can generate some traffic for you.

I hope this article can help some of the jobless or underemployed folks get a job.

I use to work for a listed European company and because I manage a team, workforce planning is something I do often.

I get potential employees from different sources; recruiters, referrals and posting job advertisements and referrals usually carry the most weight. So for any folks looking out for new opportunities, leveraging your existing network and getting your CV through to the hiring manager is your best bet.

CVs that go through recruiters and HR are usually screened and because these people don’t understand the job as well as the hiring manager, they may overlook portable skillets that you may have and more importantly a CV cannot differentiate someone with a positive attitude versus a jerk with aptitude.

I will list some points here to help with resume writing and the interview itself:

Resume writing

1) Always list latest experience on top. I see CVs with experience dating to the 1990s first.. this is not relevant.

2) Highlight in your resume job accomplishments that are tangible in nature. Don’t put in your vague information like team player. For eg; write increase customer service scores from 80-95% over 1 year period and exceeded customer service score target of 90%. Draw attention using different font colors (I like red) to accomplishments that are relevant to the job you are applying for.

3) Add a picture but one that is professional, CVs with pictures usually receive more attention as human beings are visual in nature. Photo should just be top half of your body, not head shots please and not full length either. For guys, shirt with tie (suit if your profession requires) For ladies, blouse or shirt with jacket.

4) If relevant add a cover letter and list why you are suitable to the job. Remember hiring is not the main job of the hiring manager, he/she have other responsibilities as well so your fit to solve the “problem” he/she have is important. The key is what value you can bring to the organisation and importantly how you can fit in the culture.

5) Leave your education requirements at the bottom of the CV, not the top unless you are from some ivy league university. Most hiring manager don’t place education above experience. If you are a fresh graduate, then list your accomplishments in school.

6) Always have an executive summary, most people spend 5-10 seconds on your CV only. Your summary at the top highlights your experience. For Eg; sales professional with 10 years regional experience in ASEAN selling to Fortune 500 MNCs. Over achieved sales targets in 2015 by 100%. This should also highlight any unique skill sets that you may have like for eg; Japanese speaker etc.

7) Try to limit CVs to maximum to 3 – 4 pages. Always use point forms in your CVs. Don’t write paragraphs to highlight your work experience. Make it as easy to read as possible.

8) List down any industry relevant certifications, courses you have undertaken. This shows that you are constantly improving.

9) If you haven’t been employed for a few months and this shows on your CV then show what you have done during this time to keep yourself abreast of industry trends.

10) You don’t have to list these items as they are not relevant during the screening process and at times may even be disadvantageous for you:

A) Address – You applied for a job in East but you stay in North. Hiring            manager may dismiss you because you stay too far.

B) Current and expected salary – Your current salary maybe too low or high      for the advertised role do you may not get shortlisted. During the interview you can give a range.

C) Birth date – Too old or too young may be disadvantageous so omit this info as it isn’t relevant.

D) IC number – This is sensitive information and you don’t have to list this as it may reveal your age as well.

11) What you should include at the top of your CV.

A) Professional email address – name.lastname@gmail.com (Please don’t use any funny emails… you know what I mean)

B) Nationality, Gender and race

C) Languages spoken

D) Best number to contact you

E) Photo

The Interview

1) Always come 10-15 minutes earlier as you maybe required to fill in an application form. Don’t come too early as it shows you have no disregard for time. I have a candidate that arrived an hour early. Also, I think it is common sense not to be late but if you are late for a genuine reason even 15 mins late, do inform as it shows you have a sense of responsibility.

2) Don’t play MIA, it is extremely rude.. If you are not keen to go for the interview please inform else it will leave a blackmark on your profile. Many jobsites allow employers to blacklist candidates that fail to turn up for interviews. Your next potential employer will be able to see this. Sad to say that many young Singaporeans born after 90′s I have scheduled for interviews before play this…

3) Always thank the interviewer for their time before and after the interview. Write a thank you email to highlight why you are the best candidate for the job. You can find samples online. This is a very powerful way to secure the position.

4) Please turn your phone to silent and never pick up a call during the interview! I suppose this is EQ but I had a candidate actually answering a call during an interview but I eventually hired the person as the candidate came highly recommended by a performer in the company.

5) Research on the company, understand the basics of their business and if possible find out more about the interviewer. Also make sure you have a good understanding (read the JD) of what the role is about but many candidates come for interview and say they know nothing about what this role is about – so why you even come for interview? Many websites provide information on pay, interview questions, company culture, benefits etc… read up on the latest news of the company. All these shows you are very interested and engaged.

6) Prepare questions for top interview questions like strengths and weaknesses, goals and motivation etc… many candidates again stumble at such questions..

7) Prepare smart questions for the interviewer. The best questions are those that you have when you speak to the interviewer and you rephrase your understanding into a question – it shows that you are a fast learner and smart.

8) Maintain eye contact and smile often. Also try to mirror the body posture of the interviewer. I won’t go into the science of this but people tend to like people who are like them.

9) Highlight how your experience ties in to the requirements of the job and show enthusiasm.

Tips

1) Always state an expected salary with 20% increase from your current. In future when you change jobs it is easy to explain why you moved for a 20% increase versus a 5% increase.

2) If you are not offered your expected, always go back and negotiate for more as trust me most companies don’t offer you the top end of the salary bracket. There is always room for negotiation but make sure you do your research and be able to give a valid reason why you can demand for that range. Most companies don’t rescind a job offer just because you asked for more – in reverse it shows that you are a candidate that know what you want (goal getter) and this is a good personality trait.

3) Under Singapore employment laws – you are not binded to any employment contract before you have started work. Even if you have already signed an employment contract and you have not started work – then it is not legally binding. So if you receive a better offer along the way, do have the courtesy to inform in advance.

4) Update your CVs often on all recruitment websites as many employers use them to recruit.

5) Have on hand references that can vouch for you when you do get a job offer. Please don’t list family.. best references are colleagues and ex-bosses

6) Have an active Linkedin profile, it really helps. Make sure your CV ties in to your Linkedin profile.

Regards,

Hiring Manager

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One Response to “Practical tips on resume writing and interview skills from a local PMET”

  1. Worker says:

    Hi, Hiring Manager

    Thank you for the informations. I was often scolded by recruitment agencies for not showing my Date of Birth in the CV. They insisted that employers must know! How contradictory of them to your suggestions. Than again, recuiters are just sales agent, so cannot fault them. They may also, under instruction, by their client not to hire certain age group. Thus they often scold candidate for trying to cover up that “vital” infor on the CV.

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