Both of my daughters are now at an age where they are starting to consider their careers in earnest, and as a result, I’ve been fielding lots of practical questions lately about the job application and interview process. This week I thought I’d share some of that advice for those of you who are also on the job hunt. Please feel free to chime in and add your own tips and advice in the comments section!
First Impressions. Start with a strong resume. In most cases, your resume is the first thing a potential employer will hear or see about you, so it’s crucial that it represents you well.
Don’t “pad” your resume with inflated accomplishments or experiences. It’s not true that “everybody does it.” Not only is it wrong, it’s also just a bad idea and will probably do you more harm than good.
Avoid distracting fonts or designs. Triple-check for typos, errors, and consistent punctuation, and then ask a few other people to do the same. Do not skip that step! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across typos in resumes, even at the very highest levels, and typos make a terrible first impression. This is one kind of error that is 100% preventable.
Write a specific and thoughtful objective statement tailored to the job you’re applying for. This is the biggest mistake I come across on resumes. Whenever I see an objective statement or cover letter that seems overly broad or generalized, I know immediately that the person either doesn’t understand their own strengths and gifts, or they haven’t done their research into the job opportunity. Either way, it’s a bad sign.
Diane Paddison, 4word Founder and President, is a Harvard MBA, former global executive of two Fortune 500 companies and one Fortune 1000 company, and serves as an independent director for two corporations and four not-for-profits. The leading advocate for the professional Christian women community, Diane published "Work, Love, Pray" in 2011, laying the foundation for 4word. Diane speaks on life/work balance, mentoring/sponsorship, and impactful leadership at events across the country. She authors weekly posts at 4wordwomen.org and is a featured columnist for Today's Christian Woman. Diane and her husband Chris have four children and live in Dallas, Texas.