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February 08, 2016

5 Surprising Secrets to Scoring a Job Interview

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Sponsored: [Video] Secret on how to land more interviews

Diligent job seekers spend hours creating resumes & cover letters, searching through job postings, reviewing classifieds and networking -- all in order to get an interview. Yet most of them don't know what to do when they get one! When the job market was booming, it took an average of 3 interviews to get 1 job offer. Now it takes 17. The key is have a great interview, where the interviewer actually pictures you doing the job.

If you want to be that person, there's a little known secret you can put together for your next interview that literally forces the interviewer to picture you filling the position, and to visualize actually hiring you -- asap. Using this method guarantees you'll stand out from the crowd and shoot straight to the top of the "must hire" list. To learn more about this 'Secret Career Document' and land any job you desire, check out this job interview video.

5 Secrets to Scoring a Job Interview

By Rachael Schultz, Online News Writer and Editor

Want to land your dream job this year? Then you need to have a resume that kicks it in today's world.

"When you send your resume to a company now, before any human ever reads it, the information gets put through software that ranks your resume according to specific keywords that you have or haven't used," says Dan Goodman, president of the resume writing service About Jobs.

These applicant tracking systems whittle down hundreds of candidates and only pass along the top 10 to hiring managers, Goodman says.

"Five years ago, about 30 percent of companies were using this kind of software," says Goodman. "Now, it's about 90 percent."

So that means you're writing your resume for two different audiences: humans and computers. Luckily, Goodman knows how to please both.

Steal these five tips for creating a winning resume and securing an interview. Then it's up to you to knock 'em dead.

Start with the right keywords

Every company's applicant tracking algorithm is unique, but they're all designed to search for specific keywords. The more times you use these keywords, the more qualified the computer will rate you.

So how do you know which terms are important?

Comb the job description and pull out any buzz words or buzz phrases. These are usually mentioned more than once. For instance, if you see the word "management" sprinkled throughout the description, make sure you play up your managerial skills in every section of your resume.

And don't feel like you're overdoing it. You may be inclined to open up a thesaurus and start subbing in other words in its place -- but remember that the computer will weigh variations of "manage" more heavily than other synonyms.

This goes for software requirements, too. If the job demands that you be proficient in PhotoShop, then make sure you mention your competence with the program under every relevant position you've held in the past -- not just your current one.

Address time gaps

Don't skip over the time you spent in between jobs. Otherwise, the computer algorithm will see the space and penalize you in the ratings. Just as you would list your past jobs in reverse chronological order, include your time gaps:

January-April 2014
Attended to urgent family matters; now fully resolved.

If you switched careers for a bit, put it in the best possible way:

April 2014-February 2015
Seized entrepreneurial opportunities to do X, Y, and Z.

If you gained any relevant skills during this time, like financial monitoring or managerial experience, add them in. But if they aren't relevant, don't try to force them.

Make a big promise, and show you can deliver

Once you get past the computer, you have about 6 seconds to catch the hiring manager's eye. Since the first quarter-page of your resume is prime real estate, use it to make a "value proposition." Describe how you can give hiring managers exactly what they want, and provide evidence that you've done it before.

Is the company looking for a selling machine with excellent client relationships? Answer their call right off the bat before you dive into specifics:

Over 10 years of driving record number of sales, and maintaining customer loyalty. Consistently top ranked for performance.

In the past, you may have saved this info for your cover letter. But if you want to make the biggest splash and set yourself apart from the other candidates, say it in one or two sentences on your resume, too. Just make sure you keep the language short, sweet, and easy to read.

Highlight your accomplishments

You've announced your value -- now you need to back it up. The first thing an employer is looking for is a proven performer.

Do more than just give a job description underneath each of your past roles. Make sure to call out your biggest wins, too. Do this in two to four bullet points:

Took sales from $500,000 to $1.5 million in 2 years.
Recipient of 17 awards, including X, Y, and Z.

Be as specific as possible, especially when it comes to using metrics. There's a big difference between a salesman who hits 100 percent of a quota, and a guy who hits 137 percent.

Let your numbers (or boss) brag for you

Resumes are a lot like filling out performance evaluations. You're specifying why you're good at this job and how you achieved goals set by important people.

Tap your last few evaluations for any solid metrics you forgot to include on your resume -- or find a rave review your boss once wrote. Just make sure you only quote someone you would be comfortable with the hiring manager calling.

Rachael Schultz is an online news writer, editor and freelancer. With her B.F.A in writing from Savannah College of Art and Design, Rachael has previously written for SHAPE, Men's Health,Outside,Prevention, and SELF. When not typing away, she's either cooking, biking, running, camping, or on the eternal hunt for the coziest coffee shop to read in, in every city in the world. To learn more about Rachael, follow her on twitter @_Rschultz.

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