The job search process has become extensive due to the rise of social media, writing the perfect resume has become the least of our worries. Not only do you have to have a CV and cover letter, but you now have to have a LinkedIn profile, professional Facebook presence, a Twitter handle and sometimes even a blog to keep up with the competition. That said, you can be a rock star in online networking, but if your resume is poorly constructed, your application will fall flat and won’t make the cut.

So before you hit the send button, make sure that your soon to be perfect resume includes these top tips.

A targeted and personalized cover letter: don’t send your resume on its own, introduce yourself in a professional cover letter, this is your first chance to impress so be polite and thank the reader for considering your application.

Contact information: please include a professional email address (no [email protected]) and a phone number. If you are applying as an overseas applicant, don’t forget the country and area code.

Summary: briefly describe your unique value proposition, highlighting your key accomplishments. Present yourself as a solution; remember the employer is trying to fill a need.

Work History: make sure that you only add experiences that are relevant to the job that you are applying to, and don’t leave any gaps.

Keep it Simple: make sure that your font is easy to read, Arial is best, and add some personality to it, but nothing over the top. Unless you are seeking a creative role such as graphic design, don’t add any fancy graphics. Limit it to 2 pages.

Include Degrees only: In your “education” section don’t add uncompleted course work, or university degrees. List the institution, qualification and graduation year.

Accomplishments: List achievements, not experiences. Employers want to see what you have succeeded to do, not what your duties were. For example, instead of noting “sales experience”, write “increased sales targets by X%”.

Your resume is your showcase – it should clearly and articulately display how your work experience and professional abilities speak to the job at hand. A job posting is a company’s expression of a need, a problem that needs solving, so make sure that your resume specifically speaks to how you will fill that need and solve that problem.

For all resume assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our team will help you identify your strengths and highlight your accomplishments.

What to wear, or not to wear

Decide on your outfit well in advance; ideally it should be a suit or equivalent business wear. Ensure it is ironed and ready to wear. Make sure your shoes are polished, your clothes fit correctly and that your accessories are subtle. Personal grooming is essential and you should avoid wearing overpowering fragrance.

Get to know the job and the company

Prior to the interview find out information about the company you are interviewing with. Visit the company’s website, social media channels and search for articles and press releases written about or by the organization. Also take a look at the latest developments in the industry so you can converse with confidence.

Knowledge about yourself

If you are being interviewed for a job that was advertised, use the job description as a guideline as to what you’ll be asked about in terms of your personality, skills, work experience and qualifications. Other candidates may have similar abilities, employment and academic experience to you. Think about how you might distinguish yourself. It is possible to highlight all of your strengths without sounding over-confident or aggressive.

Making a Good Impression

First impressions really do count. If you get an interview you can assume that your potential employers already like what they have seen. The interview is an opportunity for you to build on that impression to secure the job. It’s not just what you say but how you say it that reinforces the message you are giving and creates an overall impression of your suitability. Here are some tips for making a good initial impression:
Arrive on time – ideally at least ten minutes early giving you time to relax and collect your thoughts.
When you arrive state, in a clear and friendly manner, your name, the time of your appointment and the name of the person you expect to meet;
Present all relevant documentation if needed: your interview invitation and a copy of your CV and cover letter or application form;
Switch your mobile phone off before you enter the interview room.

Once the interview commences you will continue to make a positive impression if you:

Listen carefully to each question and give concise answers supported with relevant examples; avoid saying just yes or no;
Ask for clarification if a question is not clear;
Speak clearly and loudly enough for the interviewer to hear and try to keep to a moderate pace;
Stay as relaxed as possible. Prepare techniques in advance that will help to offset any nervousness. This might be simply repeating a silent mantra such as ‘relax’ or whatever works for you and also taking a deep breath before you start to answer a question.

Body language

  1. Be aware of the effects of your body language and how to use it to your advantage.
  2. Give each interviewer a firm handshake at the beginning and end of the interview.
  3. Keep a relaxed but alert posture and a friendly expression and make eye contact.

Interview questions

A useful strategy for providing that evidence and for answering competency-based questions concisely is to use the STAR technique:
Situation – briefly describe the where/when/who;
Task – outline the task or objective (what you hoped to achieve).
Action – describe what you did – focus on your role and your input.
Result – what the outcome was and what skills you developed.
Develop a range of examples of numerous competencies, using the above format. Draw from all aspects of your life. Store them safely and update your examples as you go through your career.

Challenging questions

Think of all the questions you would least like to be asked…

Is there a gap in your CV?

Have you had some poor academic results?

Were you ever fired?

Prepare an answer to each one. Answer as honestly as you can, without being defensive or blaming anyone. Try to turn your answer into a positive statement with a successful outcome. Show how you overcame any difficulty and what you learned from it.

Prepare questions

Have a list of questions in mind to ask. You may feel that all your questions have been answered at some point during the interview but try to ask some, if only to show enthusiasm and interest.
These might include questions concerning progression opportunities, support for further study or any plans that the company has to expand. Avoid asking questions for the sake of it or asking very basic questions that you should already know the answer to.

Ending on a positive note

If the interviewer does not tell you, at the end of the interview ask when you should expect to hear news of their selection decision and, if you are successful, what the next stage of the process will be. End the interview on a positive note. Thank the interviewer and reiterate your enthusiasm for the job for which you have applied.

Good luck!

Here are some other articles to help you land that perfect job:

4 Tips That Will Boost Your Chances of Landing That Interview

The Most Important Part of Your Résumé Is One You Haven’t Even Written Yet.

The surprising interview question one exec asks every job candidate