Whether you write your own or have the most important document in your job search written professionally, one thing remains true:
You have to be able to speak to what is on your resume! You be able to bring it (and your value) to life.
Why? Because many interviewers, especially hiring managers, do what I call “resume interviews”. They base nearly every question to you off of something they see on your resume. And often they just saw your resume 5 minutes before you stepped in the room so have very little context. They will see a word, a phrase or a bullet point that intrigues them… and will ask you about it.
When I meet with job seekers, we often talk about their resumes. I always ask a few of these questions to see how well versed they are in their own careers. As it was listed on their resume as a key strength, I recently asked someone to explain “integrity” to me.
Not the Webster’s definition of course, but rather how that word says something about you. That can be answered one of three ways:
- Explain why you used it in the context of your resume
- Describe how integrity is relevant to the job and the role
- Share a story that illustrates how it became a strength of yours
And yet, man struggle mightily to provide helpful answers to any of the three points. They simply can not answer the question.
So I ask you:
Can you elaborate on why every phrase exists on your resume? Can you bring every word to life?
I hope so, because the truth is you really have no excuse. You used the words, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to speak to them. Yes, the resume got you invited to the dance, but you haven’t practiced your steps.
I also understand this isn’t easy… no matter how easy it may sound when someone else tells you to do it must be done, it isn’t. Talking eloquently about your resume takes practice… more practice… and trial and error.
And each interview is a trial filled with errors.
If you are in an active job or internship search, make this a high priority. You simply must be able to confidently speak to each of your strengths. Get started today, and feel and sound far more confident during your next job interview.
About the Author: Tim Tyrell-Smith is a career, marketing, branding and strategy coach focusing on small business, non-profits and individuals. A veteran executive in consumer marketing, Tim spent 23 years growing premium brands including Nestle Quik, Mauna Loa Macadamias and Meguiar’s Car Wax. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimsStrategy.