Top Phone Interview Questions to Prepare For

Before you head to a job interview in person, you’ll likely have to go through a phone screen. Employers rely on these because they’re an efficient way to filter out applicants that are a weak fit and schedule face-to-face interviews with those that are the best fit.

But when it comes to preparing for one, you need to approach it just as seriously as you would a regular, in-person interview. To help you in the process, here are the top phone interview questions to get ready to answer. (more…)

Should I Always Include a Cover Letter With My Application?

While technology has certainly changed the way candidates apply for jobs, some things remain the same. This includes the need for a cover letter. Unless you’re applying online and the system doesn’t allow you to submit one, you should consider sending one in.

Why? Because most hiring managers want to see a cover letter. Even if they don’t fully read it, they expect to have one in hand from applicants. So if you don’t send one with your resume, you could stand out for the wrong reasons.

In addition, while a recruiter might not read your cover letter from beginning to end, they can often pass it along to the hiring manager and others on the hiring committee. It can therefore be the difference between getting a call for an interview – or not.

Finally, your resume is the place for you to list out your accomplishments and tasks. Your cover letter, on the other hand, is where you can tell your story. This makes you a more memorable and intriguing candidate, hopefully leading to job search success faster.

So unless a posting explicitly states NOT to send one, or the application process doesn’t allow it online, invest the time and effort into writing and submitting a cover letter. Some tips for doing that include:

  • Use the hiring manager’s name when possible. Do what you can to avoid addressing it “To whom it may concern” and instead find out the hiring manager’s name. If it’s not in the job posting, call the company or email the department to see if you can uncover it.
  • Include the job title. Hiring managers and recruiters are often hiring for multiple positions. Avoid any confusion by stating the position you’re applying for in the first paragraph and what drew you to the role.
  • Strike the right tone. Do some research on the company and try to determine what tone will work best for them. If it’s a more corporate, formal organization, you’ll want to use fitting language. On the other hand, if it’s a small, family-owned business or promotes a more laid-back culture, then strike a more casual tone in your writing instead.
  • Explain what makes you different. Focus on one or two strengths or accomplishments that are most relevant for the role or company. Explain the value you can offer through them and why your background best aligns with the company’s needs. Remember, hiring managers and professional recruiters are busy and you want to make it abundantly clear and easy to understand why you’re the candidate to consider.

It’s true that some employers won’t read a cover letter. However, many still do and it’s not worth all the potential risks of not sending one. Instead, go the extra mile and write a cover letter that makes it easier for you to set yourself apart.

Would you like more help with your cover letter?

Read these additional tips, or turn to ResumeSpice for more assistance. We can offer you professional cover letter templates to follow or write yours from scratch. Whatever your needs, we’ll distinguish you among other candidates and showcase why you’re uniquely qualified for a role. If you’re ready to learn more, call 832.930.7378 or contact us online.

5 Types of Skills to Include on Your Resume

Just a few months ago it was a candidate’s market with your choice of possibilities. Now, in today’s uncertain economy, employers are tightening their belts and approaching the hiring process with far more caution.

To get noticed and set yourself apart, you must include the right skills on your resume. Generally there are two categories: hard and soft.

Hard skills are those technical abilities and competencies you need to perform a job properly. Think accounting or coding experience, as well as analytics, marketing or administrative skills. Soft skills, on the other hand, are more interpersonal in nature and relate to how you work alone and alongside others. These include teamwork, problem-solving, and flexibility.

Both are important and can help you get your foot in the door with a potential employer. Here are a few skill-based areas to focus on from our professional resume writers:

Communication Skills

No matter what type of job you have, communicating effectively will always be a top priority. So focus on the ways you’ve done so effectively in past roles. This includes through making formal presentations, writing press releases, communicating with key stakeholders, answering phones, or resolving customer service issues.

Technical Skills

Solid computer and technology-related skills are also in-demand. For instance, if you have experience with a certain platform, software package or app and the company you’re applying to uses it, make sure you highlight your proficiency. Employers want to make the learning curve as short as possible for new hires. If you already have technical knowledge to perform the job, you’re more likely to get the offer.

Leadership Skills

Employers are looking for those who are proactive and take initiative, regardless of whether it’s for an executive role or an entry level one. Discuss your ability to make decisions, solve problems, motivate a team and remain positive despite challenges.

Organizational Skills

Employers want to hire people who are naturals when it comes to prioritizing tasks, staying organized and managing time. This translates into a worker who’s more conscientious and diligent. Some ways to showcase your skill set in this area are to discuss your ability to remain on task and disciplined. You can also talk about a time you caught a potentially expensive mistake thanks to your attention to detail.

Collaborative Skills

These skills involve how you work with others. Companies want people who are able to work independently and as part of a team. They know that successful collaboration among a diverse group of people is key to creativity, innovation and maintaining a competitive edge. It’s therefore important to highlight how you’ve worked with others on your team or across departments in the past to bring important projects to fruition.

Ready for professional help with your resume?

ResumeSpice is here for you. Read more about which skills to put on your resume here and here, or simply reach out to us for assistance through our resume writing services. Whether it’s simply making suggestions and edits or writing a resume from scratch, we know how to highlight your skills and experience, so you get noticed. If you’re ready to learn more, call 832.930.7378 or contact us online.