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DGG Resume’s Ultimate Resume Guide: How to Write a Resume, Resume Template, Secrets and More

Posted Posted in Guides, Resume

Resume guide header

Over the past year and a half, I have edited dozens of resumes for clients of different occupations and industries. This resume guide is a result of each and every of these experiences all put together.

Over and over again, I find that there is a ‘secret sauce’ to crafting a great resume. This guide contains a replicable formula that is useful and effective regardless of resume.

Today, I would like to unveil this ‘secret’. I would like to show you the behind-the-scenes of my resume development process.

This guide contains everything you need to know about crafting a resume: in a guided, step-by-step manner.

 

Who is this Resume Guide for?

If you are job hunting, sent your resume to many companies, but received little to no replies, this is the resume guide for you.

If you are considering switching jobs and want to find out how you can optimize your resume, this is the resume guide for you.

If you are a student/fresh graduate and want a great resume to land your first internship/job, this is the resume guide for you.

 

Here’s how this resume guide is going to go:

 

  1. A General Resume Template and Its Sections

Part 1 is going to bring you through the key sections of each resume, what to include and what to take note of when completing each section.

  1. How to Write a Resume for Increased Effectiveness

Part 2 will help you refine the resume content that you have created in part 1. This will make the content more attractive to employers by aligning yourself and the resume’s content with the employers’ needs.

  1. Resume Organization Tips and Tricks

Part 3 will help provide the final touch-ups. We will make the resume more visually appealing and reader-friendly for potential employers.

I promise that if you follow this resume guide closely, you will definitely take away a valuable lesson or two to help improve your resume.

 

Excited to get started?

If you wish to download the offline version of this resume guide for your viewing pleasure, you can do so here:

Download Ultimate Resume Guide
 

Let us first begin by exploring the different sections of a resume.

 

1. Resume Guide – A General Resume Template and Its Sections

resume template and structure

We have to first start by understanding the big picture:

The resume template of a general resume and how we can build it.

 

A resume consists of the following sections. Here is an overview:

  • Personal Contact Details
  • Profile Picture
  • Executive Summary
  • Key Competencies
  • Work Experience
  • Education
  • Skills and Languages

 

1.1 Personal Contact Details

Personal contact details are a must-have in every resume, as they help interested employers contact you easily.

personal contact details

Here are the details that I would strongly recommend including in the resume:

 

  • Full Name
    • Be sure to make your name BIG and bold at the top of your resume, clearly distinct from the other resume content
  • Email address
    • Do note that this email address should be one that you regularly use, and the name of the email should be decent and presentable
  • Phone number
  • LinkedIn profile address (if any)
    • If you do not have a LinkedIn profile, here’s another guide that you have to read to help you create one!

 

Other details are typically not required in the resume, unless clearly specified by the employer.

 

1.2 Profile Picture

This is an optional aspect of the resume, as there are different preferences between employers and recruiters.

We recommend using a profile picture if you have a professional-looking one that improves your application.

 

If you don’t have one, or only have one that is shabby or overly casual, you can choose to omit it from the resume.

 

Alternatively, we offer professional resume photography services as well! (It also helps for your LinkedIn profile and other applications in future)

 

1.3 Executive Summary

executive summary

 

An executive summary helps to provide a short and succinct overview of who you are as a candidate. It highlights your past achievements and demonstrates your key value in a short paragraph.

 

Many employers do not have the time to look through your resume in detail.

The executive summary allows for time-starved employers to have a quick look. If it piques their interest, they will give your resume more attention.

 

Here is a general guideline on how you can write your executive summary:

  • State your years of experience, roles and industries you have worked in
  • Name a few important and relevant core competencies you have developed
  • Highlight some key achievements and relevant parts of your career that you can impress the employer with

 

It is important to tell your story the way you want it:

Express your summary in a way that you want to be remembered and leave a great first impression!

 

1.4 Key Competencies

Similar to the previous section, highlighting your key competencies helps employers to have an easy look at what you excel at.

 

Without going through your resume in detail, they can have a good sense of whether your competencies match what they are looking for.

I recommend providing 4-6 key competencies to showcase a multitude of skills.

 

The competencies you should include depends on your own expertise, your past work experience and industry.

There is no fixed formula for this, and should be personalized based on each individual.

 

For example, a candidate for a Human Resources role might include competencies such as:

  • Staffing and Recruitment
  • Staff Training and Development

 

Compare this to a candidate for a Marketing role, who might include competencies such as:

  • Social Media Engagement
  • Search Engine Optimization

In the later sections, I will also provide more detailed steps on how you can better write these competencies to best suit the job you are applying for.

 

1.5 Work Experience

The section most of you are most concerned with, work experience is absolutely a key part of the resume.

It demonstrates your past work achievements, and what you can potentially bring to the table in the new job.

 

work experience

Here are the must-have information in this section:

  • Company name
  • Job title
  • Duration of work
  • Details of work responsibilities

Tip: For smaller and less well known companies, you can add a short one-liner description to give the reader an idea of the type of company and its industry.

 

For the details of work responsibilities, a common mistake I see many people make is to simply list their responsibilities as it is.

Some even simply copy their job descriptions into their resume!

 

This is a big No-No!

 

Instead of presenting them as responsibilities and tasks that you had to fulfil, this section should tell your accomplishments.

 

Accomplishments over Responsibilities

 

This is a section on how you worked on and solved problems, contributing to the company by taking action.

 

Sounds difficult? This can be done by using RAP:

RAP

Results: What are the results?

Action: How did the results come by?

Problem: Why are the results important?

 

Results

This is the WHAT: What did you achieve?

 

During your job, you would have created some positive results for the company from your efforts.

Describe in detail the results that came out of your efforts, and remember to try and add quantitative results wherever possible.

Additionally, remember to start with action words that make a greater impact. As detailed in our other article, action words help to highlight achievements and make them more convincing.

 

Action

This is the HOW: How did you achieve it?

 

This is the process that worked towards resolving the problem for the company.

Try to add relevant industry relevant terms and details.

The employer should understand the thought process and steps you took to solve the problem.

 

Problem

This is the WHY: Why was action needed? What is the context of the situation?

 

Here, it is good to add a brief explanation of the problem at hand to give context to the situation. It also explains why you needed to take action.

Note that this does not literally have to be a problem to be solved. It could also simply be objectives/goals that you strived to achieve.

 

When you put these three parts together, the R-A-P framework clearly shows

(i) what you have achieved,

(ii) how you achieved it, and

(iii) what the importance of this achievement is.

 

Here’s an example of this framework put in action!

RAP in action

Try to use the entire R-A-P framework as much as possible, especially for your key highlight achievements!

This helps to accentuate these achievements and offer more impact to the reader.

 

1.6 Education

Of course, potential employers want to know where you received your education.

 

This section is also pretty straightforward, it usually includes these information:

  • Name of institution
  • Name and type of qualification
  • Years of study
    • Include expected year of graduation if you have yet to graduate
  • Any other important details

 

Other details can also come in handy when relevant. You can include things such as your:

  • Major/specialization
  • Your previous GPA/CAP
  • Relevant coursework to the job
  • Relevant final year projects/major projects
  • Awards
    • If possible, also give a description of how selective the award is. This helps the reader to better understand the importance of each award.
  • Notable educational achievements

Most importantly, these details should be relevant to the reader and helpful towards your application.

 

1.7 Certifications

Going through training and acquiring certifications are a good way to help improve your knowledge of relevant skills required in your desired jobs.

They also show potential employers that you are well equipped with the skills needed.

 

If you have previously received certifications for different courses you completed, be sure to include them in!

 

Simply include the following:

(i) name of the certification,

(ii) institution that provided the certification, and

(iii) the date you received the certification.

 

1.8 Skills and Languages

Here you can showcase other skills that you have yet to mention clearly in the above sections.

Do try to include technical and/or relevant skills, rather than general and ‘fluff’ skills that will not add any value.

 

For example, here are examples of some skills that would be good to include (if you have them, of course!)

 

  • Google Adwords
  • Adobe Illustrator

 

For these skills, also try to use words such as ‘Advanced’ and ‘Proficient’ to highlight the best skills you have.

Additionally, you can add further details to each skill to demonstrate your level of competency.

 

Here are some skills that you would be better off omitting.

  • Teamwork
  • Detail-oriented

 

The problem with the latter is that they do not are not really considered as skills; they are simply attributes that most candidates can have!

Instead of highlighting these attributes in this section, you could expand on them in a cover letter or during the interview.

 

In this section, you can also include the languages that you understand and have mastery of.

Remember to include level of proficiency in written and spoken forms!

 

2. Resume Guide – How to Write a Resume for Increased Effectiveness

section 2

Now you have a good understanding of the structure of a resume. Great! But how can you better write a resume to stand out from the crowd?

The answer: By matching your experience and competencies with what the companies are looking for!

 

Many candidates send the exact same resume to tens and hundreds of companies, in the hope of securing a few interviews. However, this often proves to be ineffective.

Why?

 

For every role, different companies are looking for a specific type of skillset, expertise and experience.

As such, a single resume cannot be suitable for different job openings.

 

But what can you do?

 

Of course you cannot lie and change or make up your work experience.

 

What you can do is to highlight and position your expertise and competencies to suit what the companies are looking for.

 

I’ll bring you through the process of a candidate, John, looking to refine his resume for a Business Development role.

 

2.1 Look at the Job Listing of Your Desired Role.

First, John has to establish what the company is looking for in a candidate.

John should look for his ideal job’s listing and look out for key things that they specify. In this case, John is interested in a Business Development role.

business development role

 

He should take note and highlight certain keywords and specific industry-relevant terms that they use in the job listing.

 

It is likely that they are looking for candidates with similar experiences and skills.

Tip: This applies for soft skills as well! For certain jobs employers might put greater emphasis on a set of soft skills, so it would be good to take note of them for your application.

 

From the job listing of his desired role, John has found some key aspects that the employer is looking for:

  • Delivering of digital solutions
  • Project communication with stakeholders
  • Consolidating of reporting and delivering insights and recommendations

 

He should then find similar suitable experiences in his resume that he can highlight.

 

2.2 Find Other Similar Job Listings of the Same Role

Now John needs to research Business Development job listings from other companies as well.

 

He should try to notice if there are certain similarities and/or patterns.

This suggests that most companies expect similar skills and experiences among Business Development candidates.

 

The value of this exercise is to find these details that you might not have noticed in a single job listing.

 

After going through more job listings, there are other additional terms and keywords that John came across:

  • Analyzing and developing market strategies
  • Build and maintain good partner relationships
  • Managing a portfolio of assigned accounts

 

2.3 Find Areas in the Resume Where These Keywords and Skills Can Be Fit Into

Now that John is familiar with the key skills and aspects that employers are looking for, he can find areas in his resume where he can use them in.

 

IMPORTANT: Note that this is not to make up skills and attributes that he does not currently have. Instead, the key is to highlight existing abilities and express similar skillsets that he possesses in a way that is familiar to employers.


Highlighting existing abilities

John might have a diverse experience: in sales, marketing and business development.

highlight skills

In this case, he should be highlighting experiences and skillsets that fit the positions he is applying for.

 

These skillsets will be the focus of the presentation of his job experiences.

The other less relevant responsibilities can be briefly stated, or even omitted if the resume is too long.

 

Expressing skillsets in a suitable manner

Even as he highlights these experiences, he can make them even more relevant by using familiar terms in his resume.

For instance, he might have originally used the terms on the left column. After the earlier exercise, he can modify them into terms on the right.

skillsets modification

Notice that the main skills and competencies that John has haven’t changed.

Instead, the way that the resume is expressed is well suited towards employers and ATS systems alike.

 

This way, his resume is refined and better crafted to match what employers are looking for.

 

Try this exercise yourself too, and further improve on your resume content.

 

3. Resume Guide – Resume Organization, Tips and Tricks

Each resume is unique to each individual.

While we have provided a general framework that can guide you towards writing a great resume, there is no one resume that works well for everyone.

 

You now have a good resume with relevant, appealing content.

Here are some tips to help personalize your resume and make it more reader-friendly.

 

3.1 Order of Sections

Based on each individual’s years of experience, the order of sections in a resume can be quite different.

 

For younger candidates new to the workforce with little work experience:

You should consider putting the Education section earlier in the resume as this will make up a big part of your resume.

Similarly, you can add in a section on your co-curricular activities and its important highlights.

 

For more experienced candidates:

Your core competencies and work experience should be at the forefront of the resume.

You will be more certain of what you bring to the table, and have many years of work experience to showcase.

Your educational experience will be less crucial as employers will be looking out for your career achievements.

 

3.2 Job Experience Organization

Always organize your job experience (and other parts of the resume) in reverse chronological order.

resume organization

Start with the most recent experience you’ve had.

This is because your most recent experiences will be the most relevant to the potential employers.

On the same note, for each job experience, do not simply list down your different responsibilities.

 

Organize them in such a way that:

The most important and relevant responsibilities are placed first,

and the least important and relevant responsibilities are placed last.

 

Most employers don’t have the time to read in detail, so your organization is crucial to catch their attention within the first few lines.

 

3.3 Overall Resume Organization

Reiterating the previous point, most employers do not have time to read your resume in detail. In fact, it is well known that they typically only read a resume for 6 seconds!

 

As such, keep your resume to 1-2 pages as much as possible. If it is any longer, chances are the potential employer will not read past page 2 anyway.

 

That being said, do not try to cram too many words and information into these 2 pages.

 

Give enough white space for the reader to digest what you are trying to showcase too!

 

4. Conclusion

Congratulations, you have successfully completed the resume guide!

Now that you have taken in all the details of our resume guide and learnt how to write a resume, now is the time to try and apply it yourself!

 

To recap, we have covered 3 main parts in this resume guide.

resume conclusion

  1. Resume Structure: Helping you to understand the resume structure and to get started with drafting a resume
  2. Resume Content: Allowing the resume to stand out by expressing the content targeted at each job listing
  3. Resume Organization: Working on the details of resume organization and design to make it more appealing

 

What is your key takeaway from this resume guide? Want to read more of our other career development content? 

Read DGG Resume Blog
 

If you enjoyed this resume guide and want to download it  for your future reading, you can do so here:

Download Ultimate Resume Guide
 

If you have any queries unanswered, or want us to help you craft your resume, feel free to contact us below!

Chat With DGG Resume

DGG Resume’s Ultimate Interview Guide – Interview Questions and Preparation

Posted Posted in Guides, Interviews

ultimate-interview-guide-header

This guide has been specially crafted to help you, the reader, through the entire job interview process: from prior preparation of interview questions, to the interview itself, and other post-interview tips.

 

The objective of this guide is to help you present yourself in the best way possible during interviews.

This can be best achieved by closely following this interview preparation process, step-by-step.

Are you ready to prepare for your interview? Let’s get started!

 

This is going to be a long (but definitely helpful) read, so you can choose to download the offline version of this guide here:

Download The Ultimate Interview Guide
 

 

The Story

 

interview-story

 

I had always thought that writing resumes and cover letters were the toughest parts of a job application. This was until I had this encounter at a job interview:

I was having a phone interview with an E-Commerce company, and everything was going pretty smoothly. My strengths and weaknesses, check; Potential contributions, check again.

I thought I was well prepared for most of the commonly asked interview questions!

 

That was when the interviewer suddenly asked:

“Have you tried using our platform?”

Looking to impress, I confidently answered ‘Yes’.

Naturally, she then followed up by asking about my most and least favourite parts of the platform.

This question definitely caught me off guard. I had only used the platform once, and that happened many years ago!

I spewed out generic characteristics of good E-Commerce platforms, but she saw right through it.

 

Needless to say, I failed to advance to the next round of the interview.

 

To help you avoid this tragedy and other pitfalls, this guide has been specially written to share my strategies and tips to prepare for in an interview.

 

I hope that through this guide, you can learn from my mistakes. You will go to the interview prepared, and leave the interview proud and confident of your performance.

 

1. Preparing for the Interview

 

interview-preparation 

 Preparation is key.

This tip might sound obvious, but it may surprise you how many people overlook this.

 

There is a famous saying that goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.

This is especially relevant in the context of job interviews.

A large part of interviews is to show how you are the best fit for the role applied. A best fit then requires a match between two aspects:

  • The company and its job role
  • Yourself

To demonstrate this match, you need to have a good understanding of both aspects.

If you don’t even have a good understanding of either of the two, how can you show that you are the best fit?

 

Without a strong preparation and knowledge of the company, other tips and tricks would be of no help.

So in case you did not get that the first time, Preparation is key.

 

Here’s how you can best prepare for an interview:

 

1.1 Company background knowledge: Experience the company first hand

 

interview experience

 

As candidates prepare for an interview, you often will focus on your own achievements, skills and strengths.

Sometimes, you simply forget to consider the company you have in mind. This is a cardinal sin!

 

Remember how you need to have a match between the company, and yourself?

You should definitely not neglect the company you are interested in.

Keeping this in mind, how can you better understand the company?

 

What better way to understand a company than to experience the company’s product/service offerings!

 

Whether it is a retail storefront, online-based business or any other business that allows you to try their offerings, try it!

As you try the company’s offerings, take down notes of your reflections of the experience: What you liked and disliked about the products and experience, what you think can be improved, areas that you are especially curious of, etc.

This will give you a good first-hand experience to share with your interviewer.

The interviewer will also be able to feel your authentic interest in the company.

 

Company background knowledge: Secondary research

 

interview research

 

For larger companies, or Business-to-business companies that you might not be able to experience their offerings first-hand, no worries!

With the wealth of information available online, you can also do secondary research to find out everything you need to know.

 

Go through the process of learning about different parts of the business through online secondary research. This can include:

  • The vision, mission and values of the organisation
  • Their core products/services
  • Their key value proposition against other competitors
  • Latest news and offerings of the business
  • General industry news and trends
  • Other areas of the business relevant to the position you are applying for

 

It is definitely useful to demonstrate during the interview that you are up-to-date with the company and industry’s news, to show a keen interest in this role that you are applying for.

By understanding their key value proposition and industry trends, you can engage in a more meaningful conversation with the interviewer. This will clearly show your knowledge and effort put into the interview.

 

With a comprehensive understanding of the company, you can also better understand how your interests and values align with the company’s values.

Now, you can show that you are a great fit for the company culture!

 

Special Tip: A very useful way to find all these knowledge about a company is to read the company’s Annual reports! The report will encompass many of the information mentioned earlier, and even the company’s future goals.

 

1.2 Self Knowledge

 

interview self knowledge

 

Remember how we mentioned earlier that the 2 key points of interview preparation are to understand the company, and to understand yourself?

Now that you have a good understanding the company, make sure that you have a good understanding of yourself as well.

 

You might be thinking, “Why do I need to prepare for this? Of course I know myself very well!”

But do you, really?

 

Your work experience

 

First, you need to be very clear about your past work experience and its different details. Some experiences might have been months, or years back, and your memory of them might now be fuzzy.

As you prepare, take time to reflect upon your past work experiences, what you have accomplished, how you accomplished them, and what you have learnt from them.

 

It is not enough to simply know what your past achievements and highlights were.

When sharing your experiences with potential employers, they tend to scrutinize details and processes.

 

For example, they might want to know:

  • What were the exact steps that led you to achieving the particular accomplishment?
  • What were some of the challenges you had leading to the achievement?
  • What was your thought process and framework?

 

Hence, it is critical to first have a thorough understanding of your own experiences.

 

Your skills and traits

 

Besides your job experiences, another important area you need to be absolutely certain of are the skills you possess and the traits you have.

After going through years of schooling, training and work experience, what are some of the skills you have picked up?

 

This can include hard skills such as Adobe Photoshop, technical skills such as AutoCAD, or soft skills such as communication and leadership.

 

Think about the different skills that you possess, and how they might be relevant to the company you are applying for:

Do the skills you have match what they are looking for?

If not, do you have related skills or experiences that can also show that you are up for the job?

 

Besides skills, another key area that employers are looking out for are traits.

Traits are intangibles that can determine whether you are a good cultural fit with the company. Some common traits that companies look for include:

  • Being detail-oriented
  • Being a team player
  • Having perseverance

Take time to also reflect upon the traits you have, and whether they are the right fit with what the company is looking for in a candidate.

 

After having a complete understanding of both the company and yourself, you are now well equipped to prepare for the interview questions!

 

1.3 Interview Questions: The Preparation

 

interview questions

 

With a good understanding of both yourself and the company, are you now good to go?

Well, not quite. Before the interview, you need to take some time to prepare answers for the common interview questions.

 

Here, a common concern surfaces: “But why? Doesn’t this make our answers very forced and fake?”

 

Now, think back to your days in school.

When you were younger in school, did your teacher make you revise past year papers before each major exam?

Before you went for any competitions, did your coach make you practice over and over?

 

This is no different.

 

It is only smart to have prepared for questions that are commonly asked.

This helps you give you a more confident and comprehensive answer, and helps to leave a better impression as well!

 

As you prepare for your answers beforehand, it also helps you to evaluate your own achievements and past experiences, and how you can best highlight them to convince the interviewer.

It is a no loss proposition: Great if similar questions are asked during the interview, but no harm done if they are not asked too!

 

Now that you recognize the importance of preparing for interviewing questions, here are some common interview questions that you can prepare for:

 

Interview question 1: Tell me more about yourself.

 

This question is a MUST-PREPARE. Almost every single interviewer likes to start off with this question, so take advantage and prepare hard for this.

 

In the past, you would probably have started by rattling off all your past experiences in different roles till date.

This can be ineffective as it is not relatable to the interviewer. Instead of simply listing your experiences, try to tell a story with your experiences so that the listener can better understand.

 

For example, if you had experience in multiple industries, you could paint a story of being a high-performer that has been open to new learning opportunities in different areas.

 

Special Tip: Try to find an overarching theme from all your past experiences.

 

Another important thing to note is that you have to relate your experiences back to the company and the role you are applying for.

Remember, it is not all about you.

 

After highlighting a previous job experience, try to evaluate how the experience and skills gained can be applied and translated to this job you are applying for.

Ultimately, the interviewer does not want to just know all about you, but rather why you are a good choice for the role.

 

By showing a clear link, it shows that you have prepared and understood your potential contributions, and helps convince the interviewer that you are a good fit.

 

Interview question 2: Why are you interested in this job/position?

 

This is another common question. Interviewers want to know why you are genuinely interested in the role, outside of plain practical reasons.

 

This interest tends to come from 2 main factors:

 

i) The Company

This is where your previous research on the company all comes in handy.

With good understanding of the company, you can give examples of how they have previously executed strategies that you are excited about. This shows how you have gave thought over the company’s issues beyond the surface level.

You can also talk about the culture of the company, and how the company culture resonates with you. Try to give examples of areas that are unique to the company, and how you will be a good fit for their culture.

 

ii) The Job Role

You will also need to have an excellent understanding of the job role.

You could be interested because the role was a good fit with the skillset you currently possess. Here, you will have to emphasize the skillsets you have, and how they are a natural fit with the job requirements.

Another reason the job would have sparked your interest is probably if it was challenging and exciting in the long run. You will have to demonstrate your passion for the growth opportunities, and how you have been pursuing different opportunities in your career.

 

Interview question 3: Why should I hire you/ How can you contribute to the company?

 

This is a question many interviewers have at the top of their minds.

They are essentially looking for reasons why you will be a great hire for them, and how you can benefit the company. As such, they will often ask this question, but in different forms.

 

This is a question where you can really promote yourself through your response.

 

Here are a few areas you can focus your answer on:

  • Your skillset and how they solve the company’s problems
  • Your traits and personality and how they fit with the company’s culture
  • Your experience and track record and how they can translate into performance

Your expertise will typically come from one or more of these factors.

 

For example, you can answer something along the lines of:

“In my past jobs, I have demonstrated that I have the necessary skillsets A, B and C that the company is looking for.

While I might not have an extensive experience in this particular industry, I have shown leadership and excellent track record in my previous jobs.

Hence, I am confident that my skills and traits can translate into a strong performance and contribute to your company

 

Special Tip: Remember to focus on showing how these factors can help you contribute to the company! Don’t ramble on about yourself!

 

Interview question 4: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

 

Finally, this is a question less commonly asked nowadays, but also important to prepare for.

Preparation for this question allows you to have an honest self-evaluation and prepares you for any other question that might come..

 

To prepare for this question, reflect and focus on a few strengths and weaknesses that you have. Next, evaluate why you think you have them.

  • For each strength, be sure to back it up with past stories and experiences that can demonstrate that you truly possess this strength.
  • For each weakness, try not to focus solely on the weakness itself, but how you acknowledge the weakness and try to improve on the weakness.

 

Preparation for this question is crucial as it gives you an honest look at all your past experiences, and equips you with stories and anecdotes that can also be used in answering other unexpected questions.

 

With these commonly asked questions in mind, you can start preparing for them by noting down your answers, or at least the main points.

Next, make sure to rehearse yourself answering these questions out loud. This helps you gain more confidence and be more fluent in your delivery during the actual interview.

Practise makes perfect. As you get more familiar with your answers, you will be able to deliver them more naturally and fluently.

 

 

1.4 Interview preparation: Asking good questions

 

interview ask questions

 

This is another part of the interview that you must prepare for. Interviewers always end the interview by asking if you have any questions for them.

This is almost like a trick question, as you should always have questions prepared to ask.

 

When you ask good questions to the interviewer, it reflects a few things about you:

 

  1. You show genuine interest in the company, and have pondered over company and industry related issues.
  2. You are well prepared for the interview and have put in effort to research information about the company and industry.
  3. You show strong critical thinking skills.

 

As discussed at the start of this post, you should have done extensive research on the company. This can be through trying out the company’s offerings, or secondary information search on the web.

 

With a good understanding, you should be able to ask thoughtful and targeted questions in a few categories: the job role itself, the team or company that you will be working with, and the industry at large.

 

The following are some general questions that you can take and use in your interviews, but they are by no means exhaustive. Feel free to adapt the questions to the job you are applying for.

Try to ask questions that you have genuine interest in knowing the answers to, so that you can have a more fruitful conversation with the interviewer.

 

Job role

  1. What are the skills and attributes expected from an ideal employee?
  2. What challenges are an employee in the role expected to face, and how can one best overcome them?
  3. Do they have any latest developments related to the job or responsibilities you might be involved in?

 

Team/Company

  1. What is one pressing issue that the team/company is facing that the new employee can help manage?
  2. How is the team/company culture like in its day-to-day work environment?

 

Industry

  1. How are certain industry-related trends and developments affecting the company?
  2. How is the company managing and adapting to these developments?

 

 

2. During the Interview

 

If you have followed all the steps above, you should be well prepared for the interview. Congratulations!

Now comes the big day: Interview day! Here are some more tips to help you perform well on the interview day itself.

 

2.1 Punctuality

 

interview punctuality

 

This is extremely important, as there is almost no excuse to be late for the interview.

In fact, try to be early for about 15 – 30 minutes, to give yourself some buffer time. You never know what may happen on the way!

 

I once went for an interview at a location I was unfamiliar with. With many similar looking buildings around, it was incredibly confusing and hard to find the correct office building!

Another time, it started raining halfway during the journey that forced me to take a huge detour to prevent myself from getting soaked.

 

Moral of the story?

Being early is always better than being late, so plan to arrive early to prevent any unfortunate situations. Being early can help you get better acquainted with the company itself too!

2.2 Attire

 

interview attire

 

Interview attires can vary from company to company, so there is no hard and fast rule to this.

Smaller companies and startups may be more casual, so a smart casual attire could suffice. A more formal work attire would be more suitable for interviews at larger corporations.

That being said, a safe rule of thumb is that it is always better to overdress than underdress.

So if you are unsure, dress more formally to be safe!

 

Be sure to also check every detail of your personal grooming: Your nails, hair and facial hair for males, makeup and hair for females, and any other areas that interviewers might notice.

Remember, every detail counts!

2.3 Delivery of Answers

 

interview delivery

 

Finally, the interview itself! Having prepared so much for the interview, how can you best deliver your answers to perform well?

 

First, while you have prepared tremendously, don’t just memorise and recite your answers!  Your interviewer can tell if you have memorized a script and are just trying to recite it word for word. This can put off interviewers and come off as unauthentic.

Instead, while you want to be extremely familiar with your past work experiences and main points for the answers, try to deliver them in a natural, confident and conversational way.

 

This sounds difficult, but the key is to prepare extensively. With much preparation, you will have internalized the stories you want to tell and they will come out naturally during the conversation.

 

Special Tip: It is also always easier to remember stories, so make use of stories and anecdotes wherever suitable to demonstrate your skills and experiences.

 

Another key area to note is that you should always show your contribution potential rather than simply engaging in self-promotion.

 

Sometimes you might get carried away with talking about your achievements that you forget the purpose of the interview.

The interviewer doesn’t want to know how great you are.

The interviewer wants to see how you can fit with the company, and how you can contribute!

 

So show it clearly through your answers, by highlighting to the interviewer about different areas of the company that you can contribute to.

2.4 Likeability

interview likeability

 

Remember. To. Smile!

Interviews can certainly be tense and nerve-wracking. Many overly nervous interviewees might look too serious or formal to the interviewer.

To mitigate this problem, rehearse! You can rehearse your answers in front of a mirror, to see for yourself and remind yourself to reveal appropriate smiles during parts of the answer.

 

Another area to take note of is your body language and expressions.

During your rehearsal, you want to simulate answering in a real interview as much as possible. Thus it is important to smile appropriately and do appropriate hand gestures even during the preparation of your answers.

 

This way, during the interview itself, you will also be deliver your answers in a natural manner that interviewers can feel more comfortable with.

 

 

3. After the Interview

 

after interview

 

After the interview, you should be happy and relieved, and rightfully so! Give yourself a pat on the back!

 

But it is not all over yet.

 

Within 24 hours, remember to email the interviewer and thank him/her for the interview. Remember that the interview is not a given and you should be thankful for having the opportunity!

You can also drop some subtle reminders regarding the interesting topics you guys talked about during the interview, to help him/her recollect some memories of this specific interview. This also helps to differentiate your interview from the other candidates!

 

Conclusion

 

If you have reached this part of the guide, congratulations! You have now successfully received all my best job interview strategies and secrets.

 

If you need more help with other areas of your career, such as resume writing, cover letter writing and LinkedIn profiles, we also offers solutions that help you relieve the pain and hassle of job application!

With these solutions, you can most easily and effectively apply for the jobs you want!

Click here if you would like to have a chat and know more about these services! Don’t worry, this chat is absolutely free and you are not obliged to engage our services at all!

 

Want to download this guide for future reading and reference? Feel free to download the PDF version of this guide for free here:

Download The Ultimate Interview Guide
 

I wish you all the best for your upcoming interviews, and don’t forget to share this post with a friend to give them a hand too!

 

career fair featured image

Guide to Making The Best Of A Career Fair [updated 2018]

Posted Posted in Guides

career fairs

’Tis the season to go to career fairs!

 

Career fairs are always great places to start finding jobs or internships.

There are always many companies present from various industries, specialising in different areas.

Isn’t this exciting for any jobseeker?

 

While there is undeniably a large supply of companies, there is also another problem: There is also a huge demand for the jobs!

Among the many faces an employer will see, and the many conversations an employer will have, how can one stand out and make the best of a career fair?

We’ve got you covered!

 

Here is a quick guide with 4 simple steps to help you get ahead and perform well in your career fair in no time!

You don’t want to go into the career fair blindly without first reading this guide!

 

Career Fair Step 1

career fair homework

 

‘I’m just going to the career fair to explore my options!’

This thought probably crossed your mind at some point.

If you are treating the career fair and the companies lightly as options, employers will similarly treat you as an option among the hundreds of jobseekers!

 

There are going to be many different companies of all types and sizes at the career fair.

Without doing any prior homework, the career fair might seem overwhelming. You can easily get lost amidst the throngs of people and companies!

So, it is important to do your homework about the companies participating in the career fair.

 

Prioritise some industries and companies that you are interested in, and actively prepare for them!

Do your preparatory homework. Find out about their latest news and trends, roles they are looking for, among other details.

Be sure to also pay attention to the skills and culture they value, and think about why these companies appeal to you.

 

Career Fair Step 2

career fair preperation

 

The old adage holds true, ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!’. You cannot go into a career fair unprepared.

Here are a few things you have to prepare for:

 

Your elevator pitch

Start the conversation with potential employers with a good and short self-introduction, otherwise known as the elevator pitch.

As defined by Investopedia, an elevator pitch is a term ‘used to describe a brief speech that outlines an idea’.

In this scenario, you want to outline your past achievements and present yourself as a potentially amazing candidate.

Try to keep the pitch within 20-30 seconds. As this is not a one-sided lecture, introductions any longer may run the risk of the employer losing interest.

To do so, think of your unique propositions as compared to your peers.

 

A good question to ask yourself would be as such:

“Within 20-30 seconds, what can I tell the potential employer to help me stand out, and make him/her interested in me as a candidate?”

Consider what makes you stand out amongst your peers, and what would be relevant and attractive in the eyes of a potential employer.

 

It is also important to selectively choose “highlights” among all the achievements you have, to present yourself in a way that you want to be known for!

 

Preparation of questions

Armed with the knowledge from your homework, you are also ready to ask good questions during a conversation at the career fair.

After a good elevator pitch, you can start raising questions naturally in the flow of the conversation.

This is where your prior homework done comes in handy!

 

Questions will typically fall under a few categories:

Role specific

  • What skills and experiences do you look for for a candidate in [XYZ] position?
  • Are there any specific educational background you are looking for in [XYZ] position?

 

Personal experience specific

  • What are some of your favourite things about working at [ABC] company?
  • What about your biggest challenges in the company?
  • Why did you choose to work for [ABC] company?

 

Company specific

  • What is the work culture like in [ABC] company?
  • What is a career trajectory a candidate can expect in [ABC] company for [XYZ] position?

 

Keep these questions as a guide, but exhibit knowledge of the company and industry whenever appropriate during the conversation!

 

Career Fair Step 3

career fair dress

 

After doing your homework, practising your self-introduction and having your questions down pat, what’s next?

Now, don’t forget the other small details essential to performing well at the career fair!

 

Dress attire

Do dress professionally!

First impressions matter a lot, so dress smartly to the career fair with at least with a regular work attire.

If you are unsure, it is always better to overdress than to underdress!

 

Bring your resume!

Dressing does not only include the clothes you wear, but also the important things you bring along with you!

In this case, remember to bring copies of your latest updated resume to the fair. This helps potential employers to scan through your job experiences during the conversation.

If you need help with updating and optimising your resume, contact us here for a free evaluation and review!

The last thing you want is have a good conversation go awry with a erroneous resume, right?

 

Career Fair Step 4

aceing career fair

 

Now, with good preparation and practice, you are ready to go to the career fair itself! Is there anything else you should look out for?

Here are a few useful tips to take note of:

 

Time management

If possible, it is always good to arrive early to the career fair. The benefits are twofold:

The employers will be much fresher earlier in the day, since they have not met and conversed with most of the students.

For yourself, you can take the chance to approach your top-priority firms first before the crowds swarm into the fair during peak hours.

With less people with each potential employer, you have a better chance of having a longer and more meaningful conversation!

By arriving early, you also allow yourself more time to be flexible. You can also find out more about other organisations that you were not interested in before.

 

Listen and Learn

At the career fair, make sure to also pay close attention to what potential employers tell you and try to learn and extract as much information as you can.

If you are genuinely interested in the company, remember to demonstrate your interest verbally!

Also, remember to try and get their name cards and contact details to follow up after the career fair.

 

Take notes if needed after the conversation. Talking to many employers in a short span of time, it can be easy to lose track of the details you have gathered.

Nowadays, some career fairs are even accompanied with talks, networking opportunities and professional photobooths!

Besides just talking to employers, make sure to make full use of these additional resources as well!

 

If you have made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back! You are now more well equipped to perform and make the best of your upcoming career fair!

Now go follow the steps in this guide closely, and approach your career fair with confidence!

 

If you are looking to an easy but professional way to improve your resume before the career fair, we are here for you! You can find out more about our resume writing service here!

Navigating MySkillsFuture: A Guide For Jobseekers

Posted Posted in career tips, Guides

myskillsfuture header

Introducing MySkillsFuture

MySkillsFuture is a new platform recently launched by SkillsFuture Singapore to help all Singaporeans with planning and developing their careers.  This is certainly welcome news for all, as the portal helps to provide guidance to students as young as 11, all the way to working adults!

This platform provides many different tools and services to offer various kinds of benefits to users. This ranges from job information, training courses as well as job listings.

This may all sound confusing, but fret not! I have done the dirty work, sieving through different parts of the platform to better recommend areas you can focus on when using the platform.

Today, DGG Resume is proud to come up with a guide to teach you how to best make use of the MySkillsFuture platform for your benefit.

Do note that this guide is aimed at the working adults demographic, so it will not cover the entirety of the platform.

 

Understanding Yourself with MySkillsFuture

As entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, Self-Awareness and Empathy are the keys to being successful.

Self-awareness is one of the most important attributes you can have.

You want to find a career most suitable for yourself. But you can do so only by having a comprehensive and honest understanding of yourself, your interests, skills and values.

To help you better understand yourself, there are 3 useful tools provided in MySkillsFuture to do just that:

 

Self-Assessment Tool: Career Interests

If you are feeling completely lost and directionless in your career path, this is a good place to start! This assessment tool helps you to find out the careers that match your interests.

myskillsfuture career interests

You simply need to answer a set of questions to better understand your top personality types. Next, you will receive suggestions on the different types of jobs that might be of your interest!

You will be given 11 sets of questions, each with a scale from ‘strongly dislike’ to ‘strongly like’.

There are a variety of questions regarding different types of job responsibilities, to suggest your most preferred career choice reflected from your answers.

After the assessment, you will be given a result of your top 3 personality types (out of 6 personality types).

myskillsfuture career interest 1

The 6 personality types include:

  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Artistic
  • Social
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional

After which, you can click on the tab ‘Related job information’ to explore the suggested jobs that fit your assessment results, as well as the industry that the jobs belong to.

You can then click on the job itself to have a better understanding of the details of each job.

myskillsfuture career interests 2

 

Self-Assessment Tool: Skills Confidence

After understanding suitable jobs for your interests, here is another interesting tool you can try! This tool allows you to find out the areas that you believe that you are good at doing (your confidence in your skills).

Similar to the previous assessment, this tool also consists of 11 sets of questions.

These questions measure how confident you are in completing certain tasks and responsibilities.

myskillsfuture skills confidence

After you have completed the questions, you will similarly receive your top 3 personality types. The personality types are also based on RIASEC, identical to the ones used in the self-assessment tool.

Subsequently, you can similarly explore related jobs that fit the attributes that you are most confident in.

 

Self-Assessment Tool: Work Values

Finally, this last self-assessment tool helps you to find out the work values that are most important to you, and the possible career paths aligned to your work values.

myskillsfuture work values

After you finish the 12 sets of questions, you will receive assessment results showing the work value that you place most importance in.

myskillsfuture work values 1

There are 12 possible work values that the tool offers. The results will display the work values to you in order of importance (most important to least important), based on your answers.

Based on your top work values, you will also be suggested a list of jobs that are aligned to your work value results.

 

The main purpose of doing these self-assessments is to find out more about yourself; be it your career interests, confidence in your own skills, and values that you place emphasis on.

By having a better understanding, you can now make a more informed decision in choosing your future career paths.

But that’s not all.

After understanding yourself better, what else do you need to do?

 

Understanding The Market with MySkillsFuture

After understanding yourself better with the above tools, you will also need to understand the market well. This can include the overall industry information such as its background and outlook, as well as different occupations within the industry itself.

It is important to understand the market, as you would want to enter a market that is (i) Promising in the future, and (ii) Has jobs that interest you.

Understanding the market may sound hard, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to scour the web and do tons of research. Simply make use of the MySkillsFuture platform here!

First, you can choose your desired industry between many different choices.

If you are just exploring, feel free to just choose between different industries to learn more!

In this post we will be using Hotel and Accommodation Services as our example industry.

myskillsfuture industry insights

You can observe that the platform provides information about the industry background, facts, outlook, environment and lead agency.

myskillsfuture industry insights 1

A few key areas that I would recommend taking a more in-depth look include:

i) Outlook

The outlook sub-section gives good information regarding the new areas of upcoming opportunities in the industry, so that you can have a good idea of where you should invest your time and resources in.

ii) Environment

The environment sub-section offers information about the attributes that are best suited for the industry. Here, you can match the attributes against the traits you have, to determine if you are a good fit for the industry.

When you continue scrolling down the page, you will find the section on Occupational Insights. Here, the platform shares information regarding different occupations in the particular industry you have selected.

myskillsfuture industry insights 2

2 main areas to note here are:

1) The qualifications needed (‘How I Qualify’) for the job, as well as

2) The typical job responsibilities (‘What I Do’) for each occupation.

Additionally, the typical career pathway for each occupation, and the courses related to the industry are also provided!

Scroll further to the end of the page to find out about the current job openings in this industry, and easily apply for them right away!

myskillsfuture industry insights 3

Improving Yourself: Taking up Training Courses with MySkillsFuture

Constant acquisition of new skills and knowledge is vital in this rapidly changing world. The best way to do so is to take up different training courses related to areas you are interested in exploring.

For example, if you want to be a Concierge in the hospitality industry, you can choose to explore the related courses shown at the right hand side of the page.

It will show you the top recommended courses related to the job, and taking them up will definitely improve your qualifications and chances for your desired job!

 

myskillsfuture courses

Alternatively, you could simply go to the Training Exchange section at the top menu bar of the page.

At the page, if you have a particular course that you have in mind, simply search for the keyword of a course that you are interested in. If not, feel free to explore the Featured Courses provided.

myskillsfuture courses 1

As you search, you can also toggle between different filters, such as training duration, fee required, and minimum qualifications. These filters can help you find a more suitable course based on your needs.

 

Searching for Jobs through the Jobs Bank with MySkillsFuture

Once you are ready to send in your job applications, you can search for suitable jobs and do so through the ‘Jobs Bank’ page.

myskillsfuture jobs

You can similarly personalize your search with a specific keyword, category and position level filters, as well as a minimum gross salary.

If you are uncertain of what jobs to apply for, you can check out the  ‘New Jobs’ and ‘Featured Jobs’ tabs provided in the platform.

 

MySkillsFuture: A Wrap Up

If you have made it this far, congratulations! You now have the necessary tools and knowledge to make the best of the MySkillsFuture portal.

Job search is not an easy process, but I hope MySkillsFuture as well as the different DGG Resume guides we provide here can lend you a helping hand!

 

Enjoyed this article and want to explore more about different guides? Here are other articles that you might be interested in as well! Explore them here:

 

Resume Tips guide

Cover Letter guide

LinkedIn Profile guide

Interview Strategies guide

 

What better way to keep updated and receive exclusive content from DGG Resume than to sign up for our newsletter!

Job search need not always be a long and tedious process. Leave the job application troubles to us. Find out more about DGG Resume’s services here: https://dggresume.com/ourservices