I recently spent some time picking the brains of two hiring managers.
We got to talking about jobseekers, resumes, approaches to resumes, what they looked for in a resume, and job descriptions.
Something they both mentioned as a common frustration is when the candidate’s resume doesn’t match the position they are interviewing for. The job is for a VP of Product Development, but you have spent your career in procurement.
They understood that sometimes people want to transition out of what they are doing. They want to change industries, change positions, want to do something different, or just do something they’ve always been interested in.
But if that’s what you want to do, you need to make a case for yourself.
Prove to the hiring manager why you are the right fit even if your experience has been slightly different. Don’t make them search for it–because they won’t.
Do you have what they need?🤔
Many of my clients and the jobseekers I talk to struggle with what should be on their resume. Do they add ALL of their information? Older info as well, if it was relevant to the role? Less? More? Help!!!
Here are some things to consider when drafting your resume:
✅ 𝗥𝗘𝗟𝗘𝗩𝗔𝗡𝗖𝗘. First, do you really have the experience the position asks for? Be honest with yourself. You don’t want to waste your time or the hiring manager’s time if you really don’t have experience (or transferable skills) in that role. If yes, add examples of what you’ve done. If not, don’t fake it. Leave it off and lead with other experiences.
✅ 𝗞𝗘𝗬𝗪𝗢𝗥𝗗𝗦. Examine the description and notice the words they use over and over. This tells you that those words will most likely be keywords ATS will look for. Does your resume have those keywords? You can sprinkle them throughout your resume, but keep your focus on “above the fold”. This is the area that when someone is reading a document on a computer screen, the words above the bottom of the screen are what stand out first. Many times, if what is above the fold doesn’t interest/pertain to them and what they need, they’ll move on.
✅ 𝗦𝗞𝗜𝗟𝗟 𝗦𝗘𝗧. What skills do you offer the role? Each of us has a unique skill set we bring to the job. Great at relationship building? Expertise in vendor negotiations? Specialize in cybersecurity? Again, refer to the position description. What skills of yours do you see in that description? You may have more than you realize. There may be things you do every day that pertain to that new role. Make sure to add these things to your resume, as well.
✅ 𝗩𝗔𝗟𝗨𝗘. What value do you offer? How can you help the company? In what ways have you achieved success? Use quantitative examples where possible. What awards have you received? What results have you produced?
Offer proof by adding numbers $ or percentages % wherever possible.
It’s not impossible to switch careers mid-career. When you have the skills that the role calls for, make sure they are easy to find on your resume. That will make the decision to call you in for an interview that much easier.
Salary negotiations are always tricky.The worst part is that while this is going on you almost have the new job but not quite. You have to get through this sticky situation to be hired. When the economy is poor that makes salary negotiation even more difficult; there may be several great candidates vying for the position. You know what you are worth, but the company may not be willing or able to pay it. Breathe easy– there is a medium ground to this problem. The way around this problem is to be open and honest by simply telling the hiring manager that you had hoped for more money but you are willing to accept their offer in exchange for a performance review within six months of taking the job. I think this is a pretty reasonable request and most hiring managers will be happy to accept the deal. This can seal your offer in more ways than one. Not only is the company getting you at a premium, and believe me they know what you are worth, they also have an employee that is ambitious, realistic and willing to prove himself right from the start. Being reviewed within six months also gives you a head start on any bonuses that your company may be giving out because you will have just been reviewed. By the simple and reasonable request to review your job performance a bit earlier than they might otherwise, you are showing yourself to be a strong and decisive employee that is someone who can be worked with and is results oriented.
"Ummm. I didn't need to know that." TMI during interviews.
Editors Note: Kristi Musgrave is a colleague and friend of mine, as well as today’s Guest Blogger. She has oodles of management experience and tells us what it’s like to be on the other side of the desk. Here is some good advice on what NOT to say during an interview.
“You won’t believe this,” he said. “What?” I asked. “We just had a candidate offer to show the hiring manager his gun shot wound.”
Why do people do this? Is it nerves? Do they just not know any better? Why do people share too much or inappropriate information during job interviews?
For the past 10 years I’ve had the opportunity to interview a variety of people and I am still amazed at what they will discuss during an interview. I’ve heard about fights with family members, pets that have died, and mean bosses. I’ve even been asked if I have a prosthetic eye. I don’t by the way.
The purpose of an interview is to assess a candidate’s suitability for a job. A significant part of that assessment will be based on what you say during the interview. Avoid discussing personal information unrelated the position. Discuss your experience, the skills you have that make you well suited for the position, and why you are the best candidate. Rachel Zupek, a writer for careerbuilder.com offers this advice (you can read the full article here): Go ahead with the following personal info:
Goals – It’s OK to talk about what you want in your next assignment and what inspired you to apply for the position.
Growth – You can and should talk about the things you’ve done up to this point to invest in yourself and your professional development.
Highlights – Relate the highlights of your greatest professional achievements to date without exaggerating or pontificating.
Motivations – Talk about what motivates you, excites you, what brought you to that particular industry and what attracted you to that specific employment opportunity.
Do not delve into these personal topics during your interview.
Lifestyle choices, politics, religion or family plans. Controversial topics may make for stimulating conversation but an attractive employee does not stimulate water-cooler frenzy among the masses.
Endless name dropping. You can establish that you know some of the same people as the interviewer to build rapport, but don’t think you’re upping the ante by upping the volume.
Health history. Stay away from your health history mental and otherwise. You’re supposed to be positioning yourself as dependable and reliable; not as a candidate likely to spike the bell curve on benefit-related expenses.
House problems, nanny drama or rehab trips. Employers don’t want to know much about your life except as it relates to what you’ve done professionally and what you’re likely able to do for them.
Bosses from hell. Simply put, no prospective boss wants to hear a litany of “boss from hell” stories.
So, unless you’re interviewing for a position as nude model for a sculpting class, discussing your gunshot wound is way too much information for a job interview. Keep your answers professional and focused on your skills and experience as it relates to the position. Good luck at your interview.
++++ Kristi Musgrave is a Senior Validation Engineer with the Validation and Compliance Institute, LLC. She provides cGMP training, validation, and auditing services for the FDA regulated industries. You can reach Kristi at firstname.lastname@example.org