I have noticed a worrying trend in the discussions on job acquisition and succeeding with interviews, cover letters or a resume. For whatever reason, the idea that aesthetics are of paramount importance has permeated the minds of many a newly minted graduate or even some career writers. How to dress to impress, how to structure your resume and what fonts to use are ideas being batted around. Now let me preface this by saying that I am not advocating that you don’t take your interview or resume seriously or that you show disinterest in either. What I am advocating, however, is that you focus your time and energy on value-oriented critical thinking on what the company does and work to brainstorm how your background equips you to move whatever organization you are attempting to work for, forward.
Do not fall into the trap that would have you spending countless unnecessary hours tinkering with whether to include your college GPA or whether your work experience should go first before your personal achievements. The reality is this. A recruiter will look briefly over your resume and decided whether you could potentially be a good fit. They are not stupid and if they are interested in your work experience, they can find it whether it is at the top of the page or the bottom. If your background looks interesting, they will call you in for an interview. I feel there is also a wave of misguided didactic on the interview as well. The internet is home to countless articles and forums that will tell you how to dress, what body signals to avoid, how to answer the most common questions etc.. I can tell you that for the vast majority of positions, especially those in the professional echelon, these are not going to be deciding factors in your acceptance. Employers want people who can think critically, take initiative, will be loyal to the company, are a good cultural fit and get results. Plain and simple. When you are about to go in for an interview, spend your time learning about the company. What do they do, who are their competitors, what would you perceive are their chief value propositions. Come into an interview ready to actively engage your interviewer with questions that show you have a genuine interest in the company and its goals. Asking probing, relevant questions and showing that you have analysed and thought about the company from your limited outside perspective will win you points. Be confident, be genuine and don’t bad-mouth past working environments. Most employers are smarter than you think and it will be substance, and not a nice business suit rented from Men’s Warehouse, that will win you the job.