During challenging job-hunting times, some people are resorting to desperate measures thinking that it will help their chances of securing a new position.
1. Be honest. The old adage … “Honesty is the best policy” really applies here. Misrepresenting your current compensation, education level or dates of employment will be detected in nearly all cases. Misrepresentation of material information on either your resume or application will be cause for immediate disqualification or termination.
2. Covering gaps in your employment history. Rather then trying to fabricate activities to cover gaps in your employment history, be honest and prepare a good explanation of why you were out of work and what you did during that period of time (i.e. care for a relative, started a small business, took time off to travel, spent time with children, looked for a new job, etc.).
3. Have good responses prepared for the most commonly asked questions.
• “Tell me about yourself?” – Describe your most recent experience, first. Presenting job related information in a concise manner is a “learned” skill. Take the time to practice what you’re going to say. Your high school record is of little importance at this point in your career.
• “What do you want to do next in your career?” – Be specific as to what you would like to see in your next job and where you would like your career to head (i.e. management track or technical track).
• “Why did you leave a company or why are you currently looking?” -- Be able to, specifically, tell why you left a job and what you thought the new opportunity might be or why you are currently in the market. What motivates you to look for a new job at this point in time?
4. Resumes …
• Use spellchecker. Misspelled words and poor grammar are “show stoppers” in most companies.
• Don’t try to be all things to all people in your summary. Make your summary as specific and informative as possible.
• Explain gaps in your work history (remember the honesty discussion).
• Pictures, graphics and Internet links should be avoided (its too time consuming to download and deal with). Using a simple Word attachment is most effective. Don’t let Zip, PDF or Mac technology hinder your chances. Don’t try to get “too cute”.
• Don’t be too general, technology industry managers want to know, (a) what you have done, (b) when you did it and (c) with what technology. Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.
• Be cautious about “spreading yourself too thin” across the Internet. Blasting your resume to hundreds of companies is difficult to follow-up on and can work against you.
• Keep your references informed; the worse thing that can happen with a reference is for them not to be prepared when the reference call comes.
• Positive first impressions are critical either ‘in person’ or ‘in written form’.