Write to the Point!

A Neighborhood Studios Program at the Mark Twain House

How to Make a Good Resume and Not Fail a Job Interview

By Alan Burkholder

Writing Apprentice

Twain Studios

Facts are facts. And the fact of the matter is, finding a good job is hard to do these days. However, simply finding the job is still less hard than getting it.

Almost everyone has to go through the usual song and dance of “find the job, contact the employer, arrange an interview, get the job, celebrate and profit.” But not many people know how to do the dance. As a result, not a lot of people actually get to the last step.

In order to help future generations of kids not end up stranded on the side of the road and living in a one-floor cardboard apartment, the state Department of Labor presented a two-point-five-hour lecture on landing a job, with the help of career development specialist Gordon Gross.

With the help of a manual that he admitted was a little out of date – no manual nowadays makes use of the word “typewriter” – Gross gave the basics of what makes a good resume to young Neighborhood Studios apprentices.

According to Gross, a good resume should have your contact information, a list of job experiences and skills, at least three good references (meaning, not your family and friends), your education-based qualifications, and what exactly you plan to do at your potential new company.

Whatever you put on a resume, you must make sure that it’s unique, relevant, easy to read, eye-grabbing and free of mistakes. The top two causes of death among resumes are from complications due to typos and grammar errors.

In addition, the apprentices got some advice about what to do in an interview, or rather what not to do. It’s always easier to restrict something than to mandate it, after all.

Number one: Don’t show up under-dressed or naked. This will cause the interviewer to not take you seriously, or possibly call security.

Number two: Turn off your phone. If it accidentally goes off during the interview, apologize and take a moment to turn it off. If it vibrates instead of ringing, don’t let the interviewer know. Just excuse yourself so you can take care of the twitch in your leg.

Number three: Don’t doze off or nap while the interviewer is talking. This means that your pillow, blanket and teddy bear must stay at home.

Number four: Get to the point. The interviewer wants to get through this just as quickly as you do, so don’t bore them to death with that story about your dog. It wasn’t funny the first time you told it, so why would it be funny the next time?

Number five: Don’t get nervous. No matter what happens, try to stay calm and relaxed, because no one likes sweat. It looks gross and it stinks up the entire room when you do it. And then you have go shower and wash your suit.

Number six: Make sure that you thank the interviewer for his time. If you don’t show that you appreciate his time, he’s going to think you’re a jerk. So be nice.

Number seven: always have a copy or five of your resume on hand. You never know if it might get stolen, damaged or worse: edited with a pen.

Follow these rules of the ramble and the resume and you’ll be on your way to having that job you always wanted, that job you kind of thought about wanting once, or the job you don’t really want but you’re going to take anyway because the pay is good. Whatever the case, you’re going to need to know what not to do.

Sarcasm aside, the talk was very helpful. Kids do need to know how to conduct themselves, both in and out of the workplace. After all, the first step to getting a job that you’re happy with is making your employer happy first.

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One thought on “How to Make a Good Resume and Not Fail a Job Interview

  1. Good advice. My experience shows that a resume’ needs to capture a potential employer’s attention in 30 seconds or less.

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