Monthly Archives: June 2014

Read This, Write That. Matching Your Resume to the Job Description


By Ashley Turley

If you want to get noticed by potential employers, sending out your resume to anyone without tailoring it won’t cut it anymore. Not only are you now in competition with more job seekers, but chances are, your resume will first be filtered through a scanning program that will determine if an actual person will even see it. And, that means generic, cookie-cutter resumes are a thing of the past.

One of the best ways to differentiate and tailor your resume is to match it to the job description of each position you’re applying for. That doesn’t mean dropping in a few keywords here and there. You need to decipher what qualities an employer really wants and then show how you’ve demonstrated those qualities in the past. It’s especially important to do this with soft skills. Recent research from CareerBuilder showed that more than three-fourths of employers “believe that soft skills (less tangible skills associated with one’s personality) are just as important as hard skills (skills that are learned to perform a specific job function and can be measured).”

Describing how you have exemplified some of the soft skills listed in the job description can be difficult. So to help you get started, here are some of the most-sought-after soft skills identified by CareerBuilder and some examples of how you can actually show these intangibles on your resume.

Confident – Emphasize any leadership roles you’ve held, ranging from positions within formal workplace management or professional organizations, to group projects or committees.

Flexible – Point out your wide range of skills and your ability to interact with a variety of audiences, such as co-workers, vendors, customers, and the general public. You can also identify times you’ve been flexible with your time, such as working various shifts or participating in work-related activities on the weekends.

Organized – Prove you’re organized by citing how you’ve successfully juggled multiple priorities, simultaneously managed several projects, or integrated employee management into your existing workload.

Team-Oriented – Highlight some group projects you’ve been a part of, times you’ve worked with others outside your department, committees you’ve participated in, or your contribution to the achievement of a team goal.

Self-motivated – Draw attention to extra training or knowledge you’ve pursued, especially any that were motivated by your own desire to learn and not just a necessity for your job.

Positive Attitude – Demonstrate your positive attitude by pointing out the things you learned from even the most menial jobs, refraining from painting former employers in a negative light, and being optimistic in your objective statement, if you have one.

By taking the time to tailor your resume to each job description, you’ll get ahead of the competition, making it more likely you’ll get noticed and land an interview. You’ll show employers that you are perceptive, understand the job requirements, and are willing to put in extra effort. And, you’ll affirm early-on that the position, and the employer, are a good match for you.

Do you tailor your resume to each position you’re applying for? Which qualities and skills listed in the job description do you make sure to highlight in your resume? Join in the conversation by sharing in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

4 Things To Do the Night Before an Interview

ToDoNightBeforeInterview_June2014_webCongrats! Your job search is progressing and you’ve landed an interview. Your excitement and nerves are probably both in overdrive. Having a plan to prepare for the big day is one way to stay in control and set yourself up for success. Express Employment Professionals has your back. Here are four things to do the night before your interview.

  1. Prepare Your Wardrobe
    It’s best to play it safe with your interview wardrobe. Even if the work environment is business casual, you should consider a more traditional business suit for your interview. Prior to the day of your interview, make sure the clothes you want to wear are clean and ready to go. Trying to locate your coordinating suit jacket or iron your shirt are stressors you don’t need when heading out to an interview. By laying out your clothes the night before, you’ve got time to swap items and make sure you are comfortable with your selection. For advice on best colors to wear to an interview and additional wardrobe tips, check out this article.
  2. Do Your Research
    The unknown can be scary, so do your research to find out as much as you can prior to your interview. Here are a few things to dig for details on:

    • The company – Check out a site like Glassdoor to learn more about the company you’re interviewing with. The “About Us” section on the company’s website is a great place to learn more about the company. Look for for information like their products, services, goals, and values. Pay attention to recent press releases from the company to learn about company milestones or initiatives. Keep an eye out for any awards the company has received. All of these details can help spark your interview conversation, which will help you feel more comfortable.
    • The job description – Take time to really read through the job description. Develop a couple of questions to ask during the interview that will help you understand what the day-to-day job activity looks like. Be prepared to share a few examples of how your experience and education matches up with what they are looking for in an employee.
    • The person you are interviewing with – Use LinkedIn or the “Our Staff” section of the company’s website to learn a few facts about the person you’re interviewing with. Look for any commonalities that help you connect with the interviewer, like if you attended the same school or worked for the same company in the past.
  3. Take Care of Yourself
    The night before your interview is not the time to pull an all-nighter. Get your rest and allow yourself time to prepare. An interview is a big opportunity, and you want to shine accordingly. You don’t want your appearance to be a distraction, so make sure you are clean shaven, your hair is modestly styled, and you’ve got fresh breath. It may sound silly to state the obvious, but we’re here to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward for a great first impression.
  4. Plan Your Route
    The best case scenario is for you to actually visit your interview location a day in advance, so you can be sure you know how to get there, and if necessary, where to park and how to get in the building. At the very least, make sure you have clear directions and instructions on where to report. Don’t just rely on your GPS or map app to help you arrive; have a backup plan in case your service is down. Think of the little details, like having money for parking and allowing time for traffic. Of course you don’t want to be late, but your interviewer probably has a full schedule, so check in no earlier than 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time.

Landing the interview is a step along the way to your new career. Take time today to make sure you’re ready for the interview, and don’t forget to follow up afterwards.

Check out this video with two different takes before the interview. What ritual do you have to get ready the night before the interview? Share it with our readers in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.