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Resource: Career Advice
How to Look Good On Paper & In Person
Friday, January 13, 2012

In attempts to get noticed people will go to far lengths to look outstanding on a resume. But many recruiters learn that these amazing candidates do always turn out as expected and result in a lot of disappointment. This is becoming more common as it the competition grows and it becomes more difficult to tell who's actually walking their talk.

Naturally, with so many people looking for work, there's been an increase in advice being offered for resumes and cover letters making anyone look like the perfect candidate. But looking good on paper is a toe in the water. Many people don't realize that most of it comes down to the chemistry in the interview.

The ideal candidate for recruiters: Someone whose qualifications matches on paper and in person. Here some tips on how to find the perfect balance:

On Paper:

Customize your letters. Don't send out generic ones that leave the hiring manager guessing how your abilities and qualifications relate to the position. Everything is abou the company, show them exactly how you'll fit in.

Get a little creative. Don't be afraid to show them some of your personality by adding something funny or catchy. It's also a good way to stand out from the crowd.

Keep in mind that the goal of a resume is to get you an interview, not hired. Give hiring managers reasons to want to talk to you and eventually a job offer.

In Person:

Arrive early to the office familiarize yourself with it. Look around, use the restroom. Get an idea of a what typical day at the company feels like.

Bring a notepad and extra copies of your resume. Whether you'll need it or not doesn't really matter. The point is to be prepared and use it when appropriate to show that you're taking the meeting to heart.

Always do background research on a company even if you're just applying. Companies don't want to hire people who have no idea about what they do. Take initiative in getting to know more about your potential employer. Showing a deep interest in them will invite a reciprocated response.

Dress professionally and conservatively. Use the saying, "dress to impress," as a guiding principle. Looking to high or low maintenance will send the wrong message that overshadow any positives on your resume.

Brainstorm at least five talking points as to why you would be the best fit for the position. You don't want to end up as a deer in headlights after every question.

Focus on how you can effectively contribute to the company in the position. You're there to show them what you can bring to the table, not the other way around.

Of course, always thank the interviewer for taking the time out to meet with you. Hiring managers want to see humility in candidates to see that they are sincere about their interest. Follow up the next day with a hand-written thank you note and customize it by referring to something learned or discussed in the interview process. And again, make sure to confirm your interest.