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Your Professional Resume: Can You Speak To It?

Professional Resume, key strengths, marketing materials, job interview, recruiters, interview questions, telling a good storyWhether you write your own or have your resume written professionally, one thing remains true:

You have to be able to speak to it.

You have to be able to bring it (and your value) to life during a recruiter meeting or job interview. Why? Because many interviewers do what I call “resume interviews”. They base 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 they also 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.

Just this weekend, I asked someone to explain “integrity”. It was listed on their resume as a key strength.

Using that word says something about you. But can you (1) explain why you used it (2) describe how it is relevant to the job (3) share a story that illustrates how it’s a strength.

They struggled to provide helpful answers to any of the three points. So I ask you:

“Can you list something as a strength and not be prepared to talk to it?”

These lead to great questions for a mock interview.  Because they are very simple. If you aren’t prepared to answer a simple question, you will struggle throughout the interview.

But the truth is you really have no excuse. The resume got you into the dance, but you haven’t practiced your steps.

Said another way? Because you are able to provide your own resume, it becomes an open book test. You used the words, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to speak to them.

Unless someone else wrote your resume and you haven’t taken the time to get to know it.

But I also understand this isn’t easy. It sounds easy when someone else tells you to do it. But it isn’t.

So here are two things you should do today with a freshly printed copy of your resume:

1. If you have a “key strengths” section on your professional resume (you should), circle the strengths that you can confidently speak to (see points 1-3 above). Underline the strengths that you can’t speak to confidently.

2. For every strength, regardless of how it is marked (underlined or circled), write a two sentence answer to this natural question: “So, you’ve identified “integrity” as a strength. Tell me about that”.

Just like the “Tell me about yourself” question, being able to confidently speak to each of your strengths is critical. It will help you feel and sound confident during a job interview

After all, the information in the top third of your resume is what got your resume a deeper look. It’s expected that you’ll be able to deliver that content successfully during an interview.

Let me know if this helps you! Contact me directly.

Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Cover Letters And Resumes

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