Discuss Your Resume

Hiring managers often use a resume as the agenda for an interview. The candidate’s ability to effectively discuss their resume is an important skill to making a good impression.

Points to Emphasize

Discussing your resume may be one of the easiest ways to perform well during an interview. In a sense, if the resume controls the interview, then you control the interview. Take advantage of a familiar agenda to drive home your skills and qualifications.

  • Don’t assume that the interviewer has read your resume. Ideally, you want to go beyond the resume and give the hiring manager some hooks that make you a stand-out candidate, but first make sure that your basic qualifications have already left their mark.

  • If the interviewer asks specific questions about the resume, follow his or her lead. Only volunteer a modest amount of additional information.

  • On the other hand, if the interviewer doesn’t take the lead, have the three most attractive parts of your resume identified ahead of time, and talk to those three points and how they apply to the job at hand.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

Be sure to provide interest and spontaneity in spite of the fixed agenda provided by your resume.

  • Be sure to have your own copy of your resume, but don’t look at it.

  • Don’t repeat anything word-for-word from your resume – use ideas and factoids only.

  • Don’t be confined by your resume – bring it to life with stories and examples.

  • Don’t appear confused by anything that appears on your resume.

The best hiring managers are well familiar with your resume. The information in your resume got you in the door. Your only barrier is what happens between the time the manager reads the resume, and the time that he or she decides to hire you. Fill that time with information that will impress the manager blow away your competition.

Sample Answer

Here is an example of what to say in an open-ended discussion of your resume.

There are three parts of my resume that make me feel I’m a good candidate for this job. First, in the part where I discuss how I used an online portal to double the sales, I wasn’t sure that the new technique would work. So I researched other companies that were doing something similar, found out the potential risks and rewards, and decided it was worth the try. If this is something your company would like to consider, I think I could be successful with you as well.

Remember to choose the best points, iterate the resume entry, and then drive the idea home with a good story.

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