So you have a kickarse résumé and you've been getting callbacks left, right and centre for roles. But then something mysterious happens between securing an interview and securing the job. While we can't vouch for your interviewing skills, we can tell you how to leverage your résumé.
Knowledge, skills and experience are the three 'on paper' elements that employers look at when deciding whether to call you for an interview. Behaviour, personality and cultural fit are what they look at in an interview. Your job during the interview is to send a clear, consistent message that you have the right combination and the best way to do that is by ensuring that your assets are the focus at all times.
1. Don't embellish your résumé
'But everybody does it!' I hear you cry. No, only people who don't have the requisite knowledge, skills and experience need to lie. Embellishment is lying and many people—high profile people included—have been caught and deposed when the facts are uncovered.
Do make sure that, where necessary, you explain your skills and qualification/s. You can, for example, briefly list the core subjects you studied and the electives you took. If you have more room, such as on a curriculum vitae, you may choose to include the outcomes of those subjects, illustrating how what you learnt contributed to what you can do.
Let's assume that you now have the right résumé to apply for a job opportunity, which is why you've been called in for an interview.
2. Connect your résumé to your abilities
Most interviews will generally begin with the interviewer probing you on your résumé, which is why you shouldn't embellish it! This is especially true of professions and technical positions where qualification/s and experience are not just important but legally necessary.
This is your best chance to show that you can apply what you learnt in your qualification/s to the role, so prepare your answer accordingly. Know your résumé inside out and be forthcoming about how your qualifications translate into applicable skills and ability. Phrase your answers by referring to your qualification/s and experience as this leaves a more distinctive memory of what you can offer.
3. Connect your abilities to the role
Next come the questions designed to ascertain behavioural traits. These include scenario-based questions as well as 'tell me about a time when you...' style enquiries. You've done your research on this organisation, right? So you know the traits they value? This is the part where you appeal to the cultural fit of the organisation and place yourself within it.
Apart from how you answer the interview questions, the way to connect your abilities to the role is by joining the dots between what you have established you can do (remember: referencing your qualification/s and experience) and how you have acted, or how you might act, in a certain situation. This will emphasise what's in your résumé while drawing a line right through to how that translates into your employment at that organisation.
Use this simple three-step process to give yourself the best chance of representing what's on paper in an interview. While it doesn't guarantee you a job (let's be honest, sometimes candidates just aren't suited to a role or workplace so rejection is a good thing in the long run) it means you're not wasting that impressive résumé as just a gateway to an interview. Leverage your qualification/s and work history all the way through to make sure your résumé, and the reasons why you were called in, are front of mind for your interviewer.
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