Today’s guest blogger is Reina Fregoso, the IRS recruiter for Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. She began her career with the IRS in 1980 and has been with the IRS Recruitment Office for four years.
No matter what the job market looks like, it’s important to make sure you put your best foot forward. My experience conducting resume workshops and mock interviews gives me unique insight into the application process for a federal job. As an IRS recruiter I’m frequently asked how applicants can make a great impression – here are the résumé and interview tips I offer most often.
Your résumé should clearly articulate why you’re the perfect person for a position. It should be:
- Visually appealing – don’t use a font size smaller than 10 pt; color, and keep clutter and graphics to a minimum
- Short and sweet – use phrases to describe your accomplishments rather than lengthy paragraphs
- Complete – give a complete picture of why you should be called for an interview and how you can contribute to the organization’s success
- Focused – sharply focus your career objectives and make sure they’re obvious to anyone reading your resume
- Tailored – tweak your résumé each time you apply for a different job
- Clear – employers want problem-solvers with a record of success, so make sure you identify your accomplishments in clear language
- In active voice – Include key words and action verbs that make your experience jump from the page
I strongly recommend you do as many practice interviews as possible. By practicing, you’ll have an idea of what you’re doing well and where you can improve. The more practice you get, the better you’ll do at the real interview. You can practice by yourself, or with a friend or family member who’s willing to help you improve your skills. Here are some tips:
- Do your homework! Research the position and the employer before you submit a résumé, and always before your interview interview.
- Practice. Put yourself in front of a mirror prior to interview.
- Listen. Fight distractions, focus on words, and definitely don’t interrupt the interviewer.
- Make direct eye contact.
- Use verbal cues to show you’re paying attention, like ”Yes”, “I agree” and “I understand.”
- Gesture. Pay attention to your body language. When appropriate, nod your head, smile and lean forward – and always face the interviewer.
- Thank them. – Close the interview by reinforcing your interest in the job.
- Evaluate. – After the interview, evaluate your performance to identify where you can improve and where you shine.
Remember, you’re being interviewed from the time you enter the building until you leave. I once watched a candidate give a security guard a hard time before his interview. While his interview went well, he didn’t get the job when the hiring manager found out about the incident with the security guard.
Follow these tips and you can make yourself more competitive and be more successful in landing that job you really want. Good luck!
What are your best interview and résumé tips?
Recruitment 411 is the official blog of the IRS Recruitment Office.
Good information Julie. Thanks for sharing. What are your thoughts on interview followup? Is it wise to send a thank-you (electronically, card, etc) after the interview?
Good question James. Aside from being good manners, a follow-up after an interview is a great way to stand out in the mind of the interviewer. While an e-card or e-mail is nice a hand-written note adds that extra personal touch.