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scotsbloke's avatar

Can you advise me on the winning formula for job-hunting/ interviews?

Asked by scotsbloke (3756points) January 3rd, 2010

I’ve worked more or less since the age of 14. (I’m 42.5 now) For about 19 years I ran my own business, I was employed for 4 years in the same company up to 2003.
In 2003 I was diagnosed with the Big “C” and I had to give up work. At the time I was a Manager.
I finally got the all-clear in 2008 after another scare and I now feel I am ready to get back into full time employment.

Thing is, My C.V. (Resume) kind looks a wee bit threadbare from 2003.
Even when not working I helped my wife run her Tattoo / Piercing studio, I helped create and run local websites for Recycling, Local pet club, chat group, also fundraising for local charities. I run my wife’s website, I’ve also been involved in helping her in her training of staff, with health and safety, UK Legislation etc.
I intend to apply for supervisory / senior positions within the industry I was in but wondered a few things:

It’s been a while since I’ve had an interview, tried to sell myself as it were, what tips can you give me?
Would you advise I put the volunteer and unpaid work onto my C.V. (Resume)?
I’m totally over my illness now and want to kind of make this point, how much detail should I give? how would you explain that to a potential employer? or would you put it in your C.V. (resume)?
What tips do you have for regaining confidence in the workplace (and in ones-self)?
What other advice or nuggets of wisdom can you pop my way?
What’s a winning interview technique? (is there such a thing?)

Thanks for listening.

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7 Answers

montreality's avatar

I would definitely put volunteer work on the CV. A more appropriate place to mention your past circumstances might be the cover letter, something along the lines of now that you have overcome a serious illness, you are looking for a challenging and permanent position in so and so industry, etc. Maybe the best strategy would be to explain in person at the interview, if you are asked about the gap in your work history.

Siren's avatar

I would definitely put the experience you gained from those volunteer jobs into your resume.

I wouldn’t worry (or focus) on the absence of time. If they interview you and bring it up, then you can explain your illness. You don’t need to advertise in your cv that you were ill. In fact, I would consider that superfluous and sometimes that could turn off a potential employer (they may only remember the “sick” part of your cv).

As far as regaining confidence, you will get it once you get the job and get used to your environment, so don’t sweat the small stuff.

I would keep applying to jobs you qualify for and don’t let any insecurities stop you if you want the job. You just never know when someone will call you because your resume fits the bill!

Winning interview technique: This is what I’ve been told, and it works for me psychologically:

1. Just show up —that’s half the battle (of overcoming nerves too).
2. Show up on time (will make you more confident too). Not too early either.
3. Smile. Be friendly.
4. Be honest. But don’t spend a lot of time telling your life history. Stick to the things which make you a good candidate. Brevity is good, mingled with good conversation.
5. Shake their hand and give eye contact when you meet them and when you are finished being interviewed. Thank them for the “opportunity”.
6. Follow their cues when they are leading you to an interview room, changing topics, getting up to end the meeting, etc.
7. Look happy in your own skin and confident, even if you don’t feel so confident in the beginning.

That’s all I can think of. Good luck and get out there!

montreality's avatar

Also there is nothing that prevents you from including the tattoo studio as a “real” place of work. I’m sure you took it as seriously and used your past managerial experience to help run it, since it was your wife’s livelihood. They won’t know that you weren’t a salaried employee.

Pandora's avatar

You need to make 2 types of resumes. One will be extensive and the other will be brief. Certain jobs want brief and others want everything. Like when applying for a government job they want every job skill listed and discribed. Just make sure you do not repeat yourself. Have someone else read the lengthy one to make sure it doesn’t sound like an autobiography or bull crap. Best thing you can do is hire someone to write it for you. Someone who already comes highly recommended. Look into the job you are applying for and tweak your resume to what they are looking for especially if your resume is going into a job bank on line. Look for key words that they placed in their ad that apply to your skills and use those words. Like if they say they are looking for someone who knows accounting but they use the word bookkeeping, then use book keeping. Make it as simple as possible so the person who is reading it can clearly see you have the skills they are looking for. I don’t mean simple like 5th grader language skills. Just don’t go overboard. People who often do the hiring are not always aware of all the skill requirements and so if you make it too complicated they may feel you are over qualified.

scotsbloke's avatar

Good advice guys thanks.
On the cover letter….... is there a particular formula for it, I mean a structure? or is it just a brief history of me, what I’m about, what I can do, why they need me? type thing?


Siren's avatar

@scotsbloke: There is a definite structure, even style. Go find a job employment service in your area and get your resume and cv reviewed, especially if you haven’t written one in a long time (styles and diction change!). They can give you suggestions and samples on good ones.

You may even be able to find samples of resumes for your field on the internet. Do a little research.

Getting people to double-check spelling and grammar is especially important too, so have family and friends read it over where possible.

YARNLADY's avatar

Unfortunately, there is no ‘formula’ that will make you stand out of all the rest. The best you can do is follow a good sample resume and the rest is mostly pure luck.

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