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The Keys to Résumés and Interviewing

So let’s say you just found out the company you’ve always wanted to work for has an open position that seems to fit you perfectly.

You’re excited, and you want to apply. But you’re not exactly sure how to put your best foot forward.

If that’s you, or if that might soon be you, then we have good news. Dave’s HR Director Rick Perry shared some of his tips for interviewing and résumés with us.

And guess what? We’re sharing them with you!

When it comes to résumés, Rick says that you need to do something to stand out.

“If you’ve simply cut and pasted some résumé template and filled in your information, that’s just dull. I want to see résumés that really tell me about the person.”

Rick says he’s not hung up on the format of the résumé, but he looks more at the content itself. “Show me something human, not just a bunch of numbers and degrees and job titles. All that has its place, but it’s not the only thing.”

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Can you go too far with creativity?

Absolutely, Rick says.

The key is to get creative without being cheesy. “One time we received a giant rock in the mail from a candidate. The rock said something like, ‘Are you looking for a rock-solid candidate? That’s me.’ This thing probably weighed about 15 pounds, and I’m thinking How much did you pay to ship this to us? And do you know we teach personal finance?

“That was just too much,”Rick says. “Help me understand who you are rather than trying to impress me.”

When it comes to interviewing, Rick’s number one tip is to simply be yourself.

“Take a breath,” he says. “Don’t freak out. It’s just an interview, not the end of the world.”

After that, he says there are several other factors in having a successful job interview. “Pay attention to the practical stuff, like knowing how long it will take you to get to your interview and knowing exactly what time it starts.”

Plan ahead, Rick says. Know about the company you are interviewing with. Have some questions prepared to ask them. “That shows me you’ve done your research. When you don’t really know much about the company, that’s a red flag. That simply tells me you’re out just to get a job and don’t really care about what we do.”

Listen and be attentive to the interviewer, Rick adds. Ask follow-up questions and ask for clarification if you don’t understand something.

What about clothing and appearance—does that matter?

“Definitely,” Rick says. It’s not so much about whether you’re in a suit or a fancy business dress—it’s simply about wearing something appropriate for the situation.

“If there’s anything so distracting that I can’t focus on having a conversation with you, then that’s a problem.” That could be clothes, impossible-to-ignore tattoos, and even perfume.

Rick tells the story of one candidate who wore so much perfume he thought he wasn’t going to be able to finish the interview. “She was a great person, great candidate, but the perfume was overwhelming. I was embarrassed for her when we got on the elevator with other people.”

You might not think that’s a big deal, but it matters. Remember, your interviewer is not only trying to determine whether you are someone who fits the culture and has the skills, but they’re also deciding whether you’re someone they can work with and even sit beside each day.

Bottom line: “Be yourself and be honest,” Rick says. “If you are true to yourself and you still don’t get the job, then it’s just not the right fit. It has nothing to do with you personally. Accept that and move on.”

If you’re stepping out into the job market in 2014, keep these tips in mind. Your dream job could be just around the corner!

If that sounds like you, check out our Careers page and see if anything looks promising. Maybe this could be the year that you join Dave’s team!

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