Assuming your resume is in truly excellent shape in terms of keywords, layout, branding, and achievements, it is hands down your best interview preparation tool.
What I’m referring to here is using your resume as an agenda for your interview preparation and on-the-day performance.
You can do this by sifting through your document one sentence at a time and identifying additional things you can say about each adjective, statement, or achievement.
For example, if your summary says something like this:
Financial services technology visionary who drove $22B in sales via 40K online stores delivering goods and services in >179 countries. Chief sculptor and advocate of an award-winning, Gen 2.0 online business platform that set new e-commerce global benchmark and decimated competitors. Conceive bold business dreams and champion realization by empowering excellence.
You would need to prepare explanations for each of the following:
- In what way are you a financial services visionary?
- How did you drive $22B in the sales of goods and services in more than 179 countries?
- What specific role did you play in the aforementioned statement?
- How did the Gen 2.0 online business platform you created decimate competitors?
- In what specific ways have you empowered excellence as a leader?
And if one of your resume achievements states:
Attained 85%+ market share as largest payment services provider to small businesses. Out-innovated traditional providers, road-blocked competition, and fueled company expansion from $32M to $1.8B in annual revenue.
You would need to prepare to answer questions such as:
- What was your market share prior to your tenure?
- How did you out-innovate traditional providers?
- How did you road-block competition?
- What specific actions did you take to more than quintuple annual revenue?
How does this technique help you to prepare for interviews? Let me count the ways that using your resume as an interview-readiness tool helps. It…
- Dramatically deepens your familiarity with your own achievements, career story, and brand which empowers you to reply to interview questions with an out-of-the-ordinary level of detail that will help you outperform most of your competitors.
- Refreshes your memory of the key dates, statistics, and facts of which you need a firm grasp.
- Reinforces your Why-Buy-ROI (why an employer should hire you + the specific return-on-investment that your hire has made on your past employers).
- Reminds you of the personal descriptors and career values your document says are important to you, which enables you to restate them in your interviews.
- Anchors the specifics of your achievements (the who-what-where-when-why-how details) in your memory so you are more likely to remember and state them on the spot.
Let me share a true-life example with you. I have a client whose resume has earned him dozens of interviews but who wasn’t getting the offers he really wanted from the companies for whom he most wanted to work.
When I closely examined his interviewing approach and quizzed him on his specific answers to questions he had been asked, I discovered that he was answering off the cuff.
As a highly verbal person, he knew he could talk his way through any question on the spot, yet his lack of in-depth preparation was causing his interview replies to be consistently weak—hence his poor results in terms of interview call-backs and job offers.
On top of that, he wasn’t asking questions in his interviews which was making him look disinterested in joining the company.
I conducted an interview preparation session with him to help him devise the best responses to the questions he was likely to be asked about his resume and background and all potential problem areas he might encounter based on his work history.
We created custom questions he could ask of his interviewers and crafted a classy “Tell me about yourself” answer he could use in multiple ways in any phone, video, or face-to-face discussion.
I then led him through a mock interview exercise to give him live on-the-spot practice in a give-and-take environment tailored to the kinds of jobs he was pursuing.
The next interview he had was for a job he really wanted. He faithfully employed most of the techniques we had practiced and reiterated his accomplishments in his thank you notes to his two interviewers.
One week later he was offered the job at a higher-than-advertised salary that was the highest he had ever earned in his 30-year career.
When you take the time to prepare for your interviews by researching not just the industry, company, and job, but your own background, you’ll arm yourself with exceptional replies to nearly any question you may be asked.
The impact on your job search success and your pocketbook will be powerful.
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