Acing “Walk Me Through Your Resume” With An Interviewer
When the interviewer asks you to walk them through your resume, it’s a perfect time for you to share some of your background, experience and initiate the conversation with the interviewer.
Often, this starting point in the interview is what will initiate a long series of questions related to what to bring up to them. For example, if you speak to the fact that you have lots of management experience, they’re going to question you more about your management in the following 30-minutes of questioning. Keep that in mind as you prepare for your future interview sessions.
Let’s go ahead and dig right into how you can better prepare to walk an interviewer through your resume in an efficient way.
When Does This Happen
An interviewer is going to ask you to walk them through your resume during the on-site interview. This usually happens after your initial phone interview, which you most likely passed and they asked you to come into the office.
This question generally happens during the first few minutes of the interview session. It rarely happens later in the interview session. Be prepared for this question in advance and have it be the guide towards the rest of the conversation.
Ask The Interviewer Questions On What They Want To See
The first thing you should do when the interviewer asks you this question is to respond with another question, “Is there something in particular that you’d like me to highlight in my experience as I go through the resume?” If they answer with a “no” then just proceed as normal. But if they answer “yes” and provide you some guidance, be sure you are leaning into what they asked for.
Pro fact: CareerBuilder.com performed a study and found that 48% of hiring managers will automatically dismiss a resume or cover letter that isn’t customized or tailored to the job posting.
Give them the opportunity to tell you what they’re looking for. Most often they will respond “no” even though they have something they are looking for. This can be quite annoying for the interviewer. That’s why it’s important that you do your research in advance and be sure that you know what the job requirements are, the company culture, and who the interviewer is. That way when they are holding their cards close to their heart, you can still decipher what they might be seeking.
Don’t Read From The Resume
If your resume is designed correctly, it will include highlights from your career. Meaning, bullet points on what you were able to accomplish inside that position and with that company. As you go through your experience, you’ll need to be sure that you aren’t simply reading from the resume. Talk briefly about each job, the function you provided, the things you liked, the things you disliked. And then go to the resume to speak to each bullet point regarding your ability to execute.
This will ensure that you aren’t coming off as lacking confidence in the interview by simply reading the resume. You want to use it as a guide but then ensure that you aren’t unable to speak to your prior experience.
Is It OK To Look At Your Resume During The Interview?
This is a common question, especially when the scenario comes up where the interviewer wants you to talk about your resume and experience. It absolutely is okay to look at your resume. But the key here is that you aren’t reading from it verbatim. Or lacking the ability to make eye contact with your potential employer.
Lacking eye contact will make you appear like you are lacking confidence in your experience and the interviewer won’t feel as though you are engaging with them. Be sure that you take breaks from reading the resume and make eye contact with the interviewer.
How Do I Explain My Experience?
This is another common question that comes up when an interviewer asks you to walk them through the resume. In order to explain your experience, all you have to do is have at least 4-5 bullet points of your accomplishments. Keep them simple. Things that you can reference or even potentially show the interviewer if they ask. For example, if you launched a product or partnership, that should be apart of your bullet points. And if the product is digital, you might be able to show the interviewer the actual product on your phone or computer.
Pro tip: NACE’s Job Outlook Survey performed in 2019 mentioned that the three key skills employers want to see as part of their resume (for experienced professionals or recent graduates) is communication skills (written and verbal), problem-solving skills and the ability to work as part of a team.
That will help support your experience and what you were able to accomplish. Experience is the ability to accomplish goals and milestones within a company. As long as you are able to support that you’ve been able to do those things, you will be perceived as experienced.
The last thing that interviewers often look for when understanding your experience level is a long line of similar job functions. Let’s say you are applying for a project management position, having 3-5 jobs for the past 5-8 years where all you performed was project management, will also show experience. While that seems obvious, it’s important that your resume shows that. You should consider crafting your resume for the job you are applying to not just the jobs that you’ve had.
This means you might need to spend a little time thinking about the type of job you are applying for and how you might be able to position your prior work history to make it more targeted to that position and job function requirements.
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