Tag Archives: resume writer

Preparing for the Virtual Interview

Due to the pandemic restrictions, telephone and virtual interviews surged within the hiring process due to necessity to conform to COVID restrictions. The influx of the remote work and the possibility of working anywhere in the country from the comforts of your home, necessitated virtual interviews to become a normal part of the interviewing process.

Being interviewed virtually is similar but different than an in-person interview in which the interviewer can get an idea of your persona through your appearance and mannerisms. Furthermore, a virtual interview is not like having a casual chat with your friend – it takes some careful planning and strategy.

Land Line vs Cell Phone. Cell phones are notorious for cutting out or making your voice inaudible so if your cell phone is of mediocre quality or your internet service is spotty, consider using a landline if possible. A landline typically offers more service stability and audio quality than some cell phones and internet providers.

Online Virtual Meeting Platforms. There is an array of videotelephony software programs that are used to conduct virtual facetime meetings such as Zoom, Google Workspace, Go To Meeting or other similar platforms. Firstly, set up your computer in a room that will be free of distractions and noise during the interview. You only get one chance to make a good impression so you do not want to subject the interviewer to a barking dog, children running around or background noise. Likewise, pay attention to the ‘backdrop’ of the room you are in when participating in the virtual meeting as it can become a reflection on you if there is an excess of stuff and chaos in the background. Many virtual meeting platforms have a function in which you can access to create a virtual background so the interviewer is not really seeing the messy overflowing bookshelf in your room.

Be Prepared. Most virtual interviews are prearranged before the actual interview will take place. In most cases, you will be contacted by the prospective employer and a day and time will be determined. If you are job hunting, keep your appointment book up-to date and handy just in case you are selected for a virtual interview. Make sure to accurately record all the details of the interview that you are provided with including date, time, interviewer name and contact information.

Plan Ahead. Before your virtual interview, ensure that you have all your relevant information handy and it is in some sort of order. Nothing is more unprofessional than keeping your interviewer waiting while you shuffle through a file folder of papers or your digital files looking for something. Keep all your employment related information together in a folder and put it some place where it is easily accessible. Be sure to have a copy of the job posting that you are interviewing for so you can address different aspects of the job requirements. Nothing is more disastrous than going into an interview blind without a copy of the job posting to review beforehand and recount some of your career achievements.

Watch Your Tone. The tone of your voice can speak volumes especially over the phone or virtually. If by phone, you and your interviewer are at a disadvantage because it is your voice that will stand out without any accompanying face or body gestures. It is particularly important to refrain from using sarcasm because your intentions can easily be misconstrued. Do try to speak in a clear and concise manner, and do not rush your words. Nothing is more aggravating then someone who talks too fast and leaves the other person confused as to what was said. During a virtual interview, be conscious of making eye contact with all interviewer(s), and don’t let your attention and your eyes wander off!

Don’t Babble.  If you tend to babble incessantly when you are nervous or stressed, remain focused on the interviewer’s question and offer precise answers. When you babble, you come across as indecisive, unfocused and lacking in oral communication skills. If you are guilty of babbling, ask a friend to participate in a mock question and answer trial run with you so you can practice answering questions without babbling relentlessly. Likewise, you can hire a Career Coach to help you with interview preparation such as Ideal Career Services – see Career Coaching Tab)

Slash the Slang.  The use of slang and inappropriate language during an interview should definitely be avoided. Not only will you come across unprofessional and immature, your interviewer may be years older and not know what you are talking about. Always use proper English, and speak in complete sentences.

Mind Your Manners. Good manners apply to phone and video interviews too. It is impolite and just plain rude to eat, drink or chew gum while being interviewed. Be courteous and give your interviewer your full attention and avoid distractions at all costs. Remember to thank the interviewer at the end of the interview for their time and the opportunity to be interviewed.  

Follow Up. It is always recommended that you follow up on all interviews. It is a good idea to send the interviewer a short email thanking them for their time and to contact you if there are any further questions you can answer. Use the short email to emphasize your key skills or any other pertinent information that you may have neglected to mention during the interview. Even if you do not get the job, the interviewer may choose to keep your resume on file if another position comes available.

With a bit of planning and practice, a telephone or virtual interview with a prospective employer can be your ticket to a great job.

Ideal Career Services offers 1-1 Interview Preparation Coaching Sessions. Call 647-361-9916 or email: info@idealcareerservices.com for more information.

Resume SOS: Do It Yourself vs Professional Resume Writer

Embarking on a job search whether it is out of necessity or desire for change can be complicated and confusing. A quick internet search of the keywords ‘resume’ or ‘job search’ results in millions of hits offering advice, tips, information and services which just makes the entire process more overwhelming and frustrating than it already is. For the jobseeker, information overload is a real possibility but how does one determine whether the information is accurate or not?

One of the biggest decisions in the job search process is whether there is a real benefit to hiring a professional Resume Writer or can the jobseeker pull it off as a DIY – do it yourself?  If you are at this crossroads, consider this:

The Fickle Applicant Tracking System Software (ATS)

According to industry statistics, 75% – 90% of candidate resumes don’t make it past the Applicant Tracking System screening process leaving the resumes to die a long torturous death in the bowels of the ATS software.  This unforgiving software is used by job boards and corporations to streamline and automate the hiring processes. It works by filtering suitable candidate resumes based on pre-determined criteria to find the best match for a job posting. The criteria may include geographic location, specific skills, education or key words.  It’s a modern day convenience for corporations because it reduces the hundreds of resumes that will have to be read and shortlisted however like all technology-  it is not perfect. Unfortunately, the software can either make or break the jobseeker’s efforts. Due to the nature and sensitivity of the software, many suitable candidates never get the chance to speak to the HR Manager because the candidate’s resume was deemed unsuitable and did not progress through the ATS although their qualifications were a good fit.

The Do It Yourself Resume Writer

Like home repairs, some individuals have the ability to create their own resume while others not so much. However, even a jobseeker with great writing abilities can miss the mark in accommodating the ATS and don’t get the results they were expecting.  Despite the best intention of the do-it-yourselfer, an indication that your resume is not progressing through the ATS into the hands of a hiring manager is a lack of response after applying tonumerous matched job postings. There are a variety of reasons why the ATS has rejected your resume including:

  • Lack of relevant job description phrases
  • Lack of targeted keyword optimization
  • Incompatible structure or format
  • Incompatible font style
  • Unrecognizable section headings
  • Low ranking as a suitable match
  • Incompatible file format
  • Use of graphics, sidebars or tables.

The Pro: The Trained Resume Writer

The demand for professionally trained Resume Writers has been steadily increasing over the last few years due to complexities of the Applicant Tracking System. Many jobseekers recognize that their best shot at conquering the ATS and getting their resume in the hands of the HR department is to hire a professional to help. Likewise, another valid reason to pay for resume services is the reality that resumes have evolved considerably over the last decade in relation to format, content requirements, the scannability factor and heightened expectations.

A professional Resume Writer is trained in all aspects of resume creation including:  

  • Superior wordsmithing abilities coupled with exceptional skills in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Able to identify and highlight client’s achievements, accomplishments and qualifications.
  • Highly skilled in translating the client’s information into quality, polished, impactful statements.
  • Educated in appropriate resume formatting to accommodate the ATS.
  • Strategies to deal with unique employment scenarios.
  • Capable of identifying and showcasing skills sets and transferable skills.
  • Knowledgeable in creating resumes for career transitions, work history and skills gaps and return to work.
  • Up-to-date on the latest resume writing techniques and labour market trends.
  • Talented in resume branding strategies to attract potential employers.
  • Provide an objective eye and relay client’s information clearly and concisely in the best presentation.

Kudos to the DIY jobseeker with the talent and know-how to create their own resume and it has proved to be effective against the idiosyncrasies of the applicant tracking system. Equally, kudos to the jobseeker who recognizes that resume writing is not their forte and seeks out the services of a professional Resume Writer.  Your resume should be an effective component of your job search strategy with the end result to attract the attention of a prospective employer; is your resume working for you or against?