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Helpful hints on resumes & interviewing

Always be accurate and thorough when presenting information to employers. You may schedule an appointment with a recruiter to discuss your résumé and other application materials to be sure your qualifications are clear. Please call 573-882-7976 during business hours to schedule an appointment.

How to write a résumé

A résumé can help Human Resource Services staff and the hiring supervisor understand what skills, experience and education you have that are pertinent to a job. It's an opportunity to demonstrate your communication skills.

For more detailed résumé writing resources, see the MU Career Center's handouts.

Ensure that your information is accurate, consistent and relevant on both your résumé and your application. Pay close attention to:

  • Dates of employment.
  • Previous supervisors’ names.
  • Telephone numbers.
  • Accurate job duties.

Language

  • Use action verbs such as “developed,” “managed,” “coordinated” and “maintained.”
  • Don’t use “I.”
  • Use your own words.
  • Proofread carefully.

Information

  • Be honest!
  • Make sure you include dates of employment in a mm/yy format.
  • Include no more than 10 years of employment history.
  • Keep your address and phone information current.

Appearance

  • Use normal margins (1” on each side), and allow some space in between sections.
  • Don’t use unusual fonts or paper. Remember you want to look professional.

Avoid unnecessary details

  • Don’t include personal characteristics. Height, weight, age, marital or parental status, religious affiliation, photos and other information not directly related to your ability to perform the job are all unnecessary details on your résumé.
  • The phrase “references available upon request” can be left off.
  • Don’t label it with the title “résumé.”

When to include a cover letter

A cover letter, which should be written in “business letter” format that avoids using clichés, can be a helpful tool to highlight your skills and show how they are appropriate for the job.

Include the following in your cover letter:

  • Begin the letter with a dynamic statement.
  • Briefly highlight your experience and skills. It is okay to brag a little! Remember: There is additional information on your résumé.
  • Explain how your skills and experience will benefit the department.
  • State what you would like to happen next. Mention where you can be reached by phone or e-mail.
  • Close your letter with “Sincerely,” and type your full name.

How to prepare for a job interview

Before the interview

  • Review the job duties included in the vacancy notice.
  • Be on time, and try to arrive a few minutes early if possible.
  • Dress professionally, and don’t wear perfume or cologne.
  • Bring an extra copy of your résumé and a portfolio of your work, if relevant.
  • Bring a pen and notepad to write down any information you might need to remember.
  • Write down questions you have about the job or the department.

During the interview

  • Try to relax.
  • Show self-confidence.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Answer questions in a clear voice.
  • Remember to listen. Try to find out what the interviewer thinks is important.
  • Think before answering questions.
  • Try to make your answers as clear as possible.
  • Avoid negative body language:
    • Crossing your arms;
    • Swinging your foot or leg;
    • Slouching;
    • Avoiding eye contact.
  • Ask questions that you have prepared in advance. These should show your interest in the department and in the job.

After the interview

  • End the interview with a firm handshake, and thank the interviewer for his or her time.
  • Find out when the department plans to make a hiring decision.
  • Send a “Thanks for the interview” note:
    • Keep it very short.
    • Thank the interviewer for his or her time.
    • Feel free to mention topics talked about during the interview and your continued interest in the job.

Common interview questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Tell me what interested you in this job.
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What are your best skills?
  • What are your job strengths?
  • What is your major weakness?
  • Describe your work style? Do you prefer to work by yourself or with others?
  • What are your career plans? Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What supervisory experience have you had?
  • Who were your most/least favorite supervisors? Why?
  • Why should I hire you?

Questions for the applicant to ask

  • What would one of my first assignments be?
  • What level of responsibility can I expect in this position?
  • What training programs do you have for new employees?
  • Is there a typical career path for a person in this position?
  • Why is this job available?
  • How are employees evaluated?
  • How would you describe the department’s work environment?

Published by Human Resource Services,  1095 Virginia Avenue, Room 101, Columbia, Mo. 65211 | Phone: 573-882-7976 | Fax: 573-882-9975 | E-mail: muhrs@missouri.edu

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Last updated: March 29, 2013