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Building your career Tips for successfully writing resumes and handling interviews. Algiers May 21, 2009. Table Of Contents. Introduction Tips on writing a winning resumes Interview types Tips for handling interviews. Who am I?. Who do companies look for?. Academics Institutions

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Building your career

Tips for successfully writing resumes and handling interviews


May 21, 2009

table of contents

Table Of Contents


Tips on writing a winning resumes

Interview types

Tips for handling interviews

who do companies look for
Who do companies look for?
  • Academics
  • Institutions
  • Academic success
  • Disciplines
  • Extra-curricular
  • Work Experience
  • How much?
  • In what areas?
  • Geographies?
  • Track record
  • Other
  • Personality
  • Attitude
  • Stress resistance
  • Appearance
  • etc.
  • Life Experience
  • Interests
  • Hobbies
  • Achievements
what is a resume
What is a resume?
  • Abrief summary of your academic and work history
  • A key part of your job search strategy
  • A brief advertisement
quick question what is the purpose of writing a resume
Quick question, what is the purpose of writing a resume?




While finding a job might be your ultimate goal, the purpose of sending an employer a resume is NOT to get you a job. The purpose of a resume is to get you an interview. After that, getting the job is up to you!








interesting facts
Interesting facts...
  • The average resume takes about 15 to 20 seconds of the recruiter’s attention
  • The first third of the page gets most of the attention
  • Appearance Does matter! A poorly designed resume gets less attention than a well structured one
  • The majority of recruiters prefer a chronological resume
  • 84% of employers say that a resume should only be 1 page if you have less than 5 years experience
  • 80% of screening happens with the resume
  • Spelling errors and typos leave the highest negative impression with employers
your resume should
Your resume should :
  • Give potential employers a first impression of your professional standards and talents
  • Market and Highlight your most relevant skills and abilities
  • Provide a verbal picture of your overall qualifications
  • Catch the recruiter’s attention
  • Provide an answer to the set of following recruiters’ questions:
    • 1) What can you do
    • 2) How can you fill this a certain position effectively
    • 3) Why should I speak to you

Resume writing is pure marketing, you need to identify the features and benefits you have that could get you the interest of a recruiter then provide that information in a resume



  • Ask these questions:
    • What are your successes and achievements
    • Which experiences are most relevant to the target position
    • What are your strengths
    • What are your best qualities
    • Write down a list of answers to the above questions
  • Highlight what makes you right for the job
  • Emphasize on your successes
  • Understand how to attract the recruiter’s attention
  • Focus not only on what you have done but on how well you have done it as well

Resume writing is pure marketing, you need to identify the features and benefits you have that could get you the interest of a recruiter then provide that information in a resume (continued)


Visual presentation



  • Chronological is best
  • Present capabilities, transferable skills and accomplishments in order of importance
  • Chose a format that best captures the attention
  • Appearance does matter!
  • To be perceived as a professional you should look like a professional
  • A well designed, concise and easy-to-read resume quickly sets you apart
what is the purpose of an interview
What is the purpose of an interview?
  • Assess the candidate against the selection criteria for a specific position
  • Identify and recruit the right candidates
  • Provide candidates with information about the job and about the company
most commonly used types of interviews
Most commonly used types of interviews

Screening Interviews

During screening interviews, the employer wants to make sure you have the proper requirements for the job and that you have good communication skills. These are often used to assist the employer in narrowing down the candidate pool.



The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior." You will be asked to provide specific, detailed information about how you have behaved in a particular situation. The interviewer will often probe you for more details with questions like, "how did you feel at that point?" or "What did you do next?"



The case interview is often employed by management-consulting firms and investment banking companies, but it is increasingly being used by a wide range of other types of corporations as a portion of the job

interviewing process. Through the use of the case study, employers hope to discern how well candidates identify, structure, and think through business problems.

Interviews during a meal are used to assess your social skills and ability to be comfortable under pressure.

Meal interviews

These types of interviews can be conducted through

one-on-one interview or group or panel interview formats

prior preparation is a key factor to successfully handling interviews
Prior preparation is a key factor to successfully handling interviews
  • Prepare for the interview by reading as much as you can about the company
  • Understand who you are and what you can do for the company, your priorities, your strength, your weaknesses, and your interests
  • Analyze the job or the position your are being interviewed for and determine the skills required. (interpersonal, analytics, initiative, etc…)
  • Evaluate your own background to identify your skills and experience related to the job description
  • Develop – and rehearse – brief scenarios about how you used those skills each illustrating a specific activity or task required by the job. Each “story” should explain the problem and your solution, and givethe results in quantified terms if possible
  • Be prepared to provide examples of occasions when results were different than expected. Your skill inhandling failure as well as success will be probed (ex can you tell me about a time when you were disappointed with your performance, how did you handle it)
  • Identify 3 to 5 top selling points – attributes that set you apart from other candidates
  • … and finally prepare your cloths and logistics to be on time
during the interview
During the interview
  • Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. Don\'t take any chances that you might be even one minute late. If necessary, arrive 30 minutes early and wait in your car. 
  • Treat all people you encounter with professionalism and kindness. The receptionist or secretary or security guard may offer his or her opinion of you to the recruiter. It will count.
  • Don’t let the recruiter’s casual approach cause you to drop your manners or professionalism. You should maintain a professional image.
  • Put your phone on silent mode or turn it off.
  • Be aware of your non-verbal behaviors - sit straight facing your interviewer, smile as often as you can, maintain eye contact but don\'t stare, lean forward but do not invade the interviewer\'s space. Sit still in your seat, avoid slouching.
  • Demonstrate that you are enthusiastic, confident and energetic but not aggressive, pushy. That fine line is important. If you find yourself trying to hard to sell yourself, you are probably crossing the line. Instead, pull back, be confident and reassuring and calm.
  • Don\'t make negative comments about previous employers or professors (or others).
  • Listen very carefully to each question you are asked and give thoughtful, to-the-point and honest answers. Ask for clarification if you don\'t understand a question. It is OK to take a few moments of silence to gather your thoughts before answering.
  • Make sure you understand the employer\'s next step in the hiring process; know when and from whom you should expect to hear next. Know what action you are expected to take next, if any. Always thank the interviewer for his or her time at the close of the interview and establish a follow-up plan.
after the interview
After the interview
  • Once you are out, make notes right away so you don\'t forget critical details.
  • If you are working with a search firm or a head hunter call immediately while the facts of the interview are fresh on your mind. The recruiter will want to know what you thought went well and what you may have concerns about.
  • Always send a thank you letter to the interviewer immediately. If there were several people that interviewed you, send them each a thank you note. It is good to keep the letter short but to also reiterate your interest in the position and your confidence in your qualifications.
  • Don\'t call the employer back immediately. If the employer said they would have a decision in a week, it is OK to call them in a week, again to thank them for the interview and reiterate your interest.
  • If you receive word that another candidate was chosen, you may also send a follow-up letter to that employer, again thanking him or her for the opportunity to interview for the position. Let them know that should another or similar position open in the future, you would love to have the opportunity to interview again.


Types of questions

Sample behavioural questions

different types of interview questions
Different types of interview questions

Question Type


Frequency of usage

1. Open

  • Encourage more than a one-word response. Begin with How, Why
  • Very frequent as candidate doesmost of the talking

2. Behavioral

  • Ask for description of past examples of behaviors. E.g., give us an example of a time you managed conflicting priorities
  • Frequent. Provides evidence of how a person will behave

3. Probing

  • Questions that seek more detail in relation to answers to questions
  • Frequent. Ensures candidate
  • does not avoid certain areas

4. Closed

  • Question that elicits one word answers. Begin with What, When
  • Rarely. Usually used to confirm information

5. Hypothetical

  • “What-if” question
  • Rarely. Used to understand the
  • behavior and values
sample behavioral interview questions 1 2
Recruiting Interviews - Dubai, Jan 5, 2006Sample behavioral interview questions (1/2)
  • Purposefulness/ logical argumentation
    • Which motives were the drivers for the choice of your study subject?
    • Why have you decided to study at University XY?
    • Could you briefly explain the choice of the internships you have done so far?
  • Identification with the company/ position and with the study subject
    • Could you please explain the main content and results of your master/PhD thesis?
    • Why is WTA an attractive employer of choice for you, the one you would like to start your career with? What are the advantages - in your opinion ?
  • Preparation of the conversation/ seriousness
    • What do you expect from your work in this position?
    • Why did you specifically apply at our company?
    • What kind of skills are most relevant for the job in your opinion and how have you prepared yourself through your University studies or internship experiences?
    • Which alternatives would be of interest to you – or which other jobs would be of interest to you?
sample behavioral interview questions 2 2
Sample behavioral interview questions (2/2)
  • Team skills/ social behavior on the job
    • Please describe your tasks and position during your internships so far? What did you like best – what did you not like at all?
    • What were the biggest problems in your job (internships) so far and how did you deal with them?
    • What do you particularly like about your friends and colleagues?
    • What kind of extracurricular activities have you done - please specify in detail?
  • Self assessment/ personality
    • How would you briefly evaluate/ characterize yourself? What are your strengths?
    • Please let me know your weaknesses and how you deal with them?
    • What do you dislike the most about yourself?
    • What were your highlights/ ups and downs during your study years/ at university?
    • Do you have any role models in your life? Which and why?
    • How have you taken important decisions in your life?
    • Do you prefer to work based on quantitative (figures) arguments or on qualitative arguments?
    • What are your objectives for your personal life as compared with your professional objectives?