Have you gone to numerous interviews but still received no callback? It could be a telltale sign that you did not get the job. If that is the case, you need to do better in your upcoming interviews.
40% of interviewers fail applicants who do not exude confidence. A lot struggle in this aspect, especially when asked about their resume.
It is wrong to assume that interviewers only care about the content of resumes. Applicants should know that how they present said resume creates an even more significant impact.
Applicants should know how to answer “walk me through your resume” to have a fighting chance at landing a job.
Why do interviewers ask “walk me through your resume”?
When an interviewer asks you to walk through your resume, they intend to know you better. Although they may have already read your resume, they will still be interested in how you present yourself to them.
Interviewers can assess your confidence with past jobs as you relay your resume. For example, your body language could give away whether you had a good or bad experience with a previous position.
For applicants, having the chance to walk through your resume is an advantage. It gives applicants better opportunities to provide interviewers with in-depth details about the things they did place on their resumes.
How to answer “walk me through your resume”
This question is among the sure-fire queries that a hiring manager would ask during any job search. When you give satisfactory answers, your chances of getting into the subsequent hiring process stages will skyrocket.
Check out these helpful tips for relaying the contents of your resume to a hiring manager.
1. Keep it short
Always try to keep your responses short and sweet. Talking for too long can make a hiring manager disinterested in you because the conversation is already dragging.
The ideal length of answer per question is around 90 seconds. When you stay within this limit, there is a bigger chance that your answers will be compact. A shorter period will force you to only talk about the things that matter.
When you need to elaborate on added points, try not to exceed a couple of minutes. When you talk for more than 4 minutes, your risk of repeating discussion points will rise. Talking about redundant matters is not only boring, but it also creates an impression that you are incompetent and not knowledgeable enough.
2. Connect with the hiring manager
A notable sign that an interview went well is when a hiring manager is responsive to your questions, even days after your initial meeting. It means that they are still interested in you. Building good connections with them helps create this kind of scenario.
As you explain past work experience and relevant skills, try to make the conversation personable. Be comfortable and make the interviewer interested in the things you are discussing.
While talking, make the right amount of eye contact. More than a statement of facts and proven achievements, job interviews center on making yourself known to the hiring manager.
3. Emphasize your most relevant experiences
Having relevant experience brings an applicant closer to getting a job. When your past work matches the job opening, interviewers will favor you over candidates who may need more training and supervision to do tasks you are already used to.
Extensive work experience per se does not equate to having sizable relevant experience. You must sift through your work history and present those that put you in the best possible light.
You do not have to discuss your resume in its entirety. Prioritize your recent feats and show the interviewer how much work you have placed into them.
4. Focus on the value you can deliver
If you look at it differently, “walk me through your resume” can translate into “what can you bring to the table?”
When interviewers ask about your resume’s content, they expect you to justify yourself. So, out of the many applicants, what makes you stand out and most worthy of the open position?
There are a handful of ways to present what value you hold as a future employee. One way to do it is by sharing specific stories. For example, you can relay how you took leadership over an independent project. You can also share the positive feedback you received from a higher up.
5. Address the gaps in your resume
Gaps in your resume were the periods when you did not work after finishing a contract or resigning from a job. Addressing said gaps while explaining your resume is crucial because interviewers are keen on why you took said breaks.
Provide as much detail as possible. Hiring managers will assess whether you were productive or not during your free time.
Highlight the fact that you underwent training or pursued further education. These events can influence interviewers to think positively of you. After all, you went through some development despite not being employed.
If you were not as productive, state the truth. Some could not land a job for months. Others needed a mental health break to preserve their sanity.
6. Be specific with your key accomplishments
When applying for a job, create a list of your job-related accomplishments. Do this even before you draft a resume. Applicants should know what they did well and find ways to advertise them to interviewers.
During an interview, your resume gains strength when you can provide specific details about how you unlocked your key accomplishments. Your claims will sound more realistic and three-dimensional.
When you realize earlier that your accomplishments do not relate strongly to a job opening, it might be wiser to decline a job interview. Having mismatched credentials and work history will put you at a severe disadvantage.
7. Highlight your skills
Select a handful of your best skills. Then elaborate to the interviewer why you are good at them in a brief but compact manner. Refrain from saying too much because you may touch on frivolous topics.
Storytelling is a proven and well-loved approach to interviews. While relaying the details of your resume, insert events that demonstrate your prowess in specific skills.
Another concrete way to prove your skills is through certificates or awards. Inform hiring managers of relevant training that impacted your mastery of some skills. You have also won or placed in competitions that further sharpened your proficiencies.
8. Practice your job interview answers
Sometimes, especially when you are applying for a high-profile company, you feel too anxious to attend the job interview. Before you get overwhelmed and decline the job interview, funnel your energy into practicing how to answer.
Walking through your resume is like walking a trip down memory lane. It is about summarizing your job experiences and how you fared with them. What is more challenging is presenting a smooth answer.
When you are not confident in your communication skills, practice. Talk to yourself in the mirror. You can also review problem-solving interview questions and see how experts answer them.
Sample answers that impress hiring managers
Below are ways to answer “walk me through your resume” for varied job applicants. Hiring managers may expect different answers from fresh graduates, mid-level applicants, and manager-level applicants.
Feel free to utilize the samples and alter them according to your needs. Incorporate your personality and background to create unique answers.
Fresh graduates applicants
The unemployment rate among US college graduates in 2021 is 13.1%. At first glance, the figure is not too steep. However, landing a job has become too competitive.
Since fresh graduates do not have the work experience to set themselves apart from others, it is crucial to have an impressive interview. Study the example answer in the next paragraph.
“This May, I graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Computer Science. During my last two semesters at the university, I was an intern at Apple, Inc.’s software development department. After almost a year of immersion with the company, I had firsthand experience with software testing, debugging, and maintenance. With this background, I am confident I qualify to apply as a junior software developer at your esteemed institution.”
This sample displays the applicant’s educational and internship background in an organized manner. Notice that there was no fluff information in between, and that the applicant exuded confidence without sounding arrogant.
Mid-level applicants are those who handle positions that have authority over entry-level employees. They already have years of work experience and have developed seniority in their respective fields.
If you are a mid-level applicant, your interview strategy should be different. Be sure to emphasize your career history when explaining your resume.
Have a look at this example answer:
“I finished my Computer Science degree from the University of Chicago six years ago. Right after graduation, I worked as a junior software developer at Apple, Inc. After two years of hard work, I received a promotion and became a project head in one of the company’s newly launched software. Within two and a half years of being a project manager, I increased my department’s productivity rate to 5%. I enjoyed my job at Apple, Inc., but ultimately decided to move to New York to marry my long-time partner. Now, I wish to apply to your company and apply everything I learned without being away from my family.”
This sample showcased the applicant’s relevant job experience, value as an employee, and the reason for leaving the previous employer. If you can express all this information within a shorter but still comprehensive discussion, the better.
In addition to having authority over other workers, manager-level employees exercise a more advanced leadership level than mid-level employees.
Manager-level employees are more experienced in their fields and have held specific positions for some time already. Other than being leaders, manager-level employees are mentors and often train subordinates to carry out company goals.
As a manager-level employee, your focus is on the quality of services you can offer based on past projects. Here is an example:
“I started my career as a junior software developer for a start-up company. After years of developing and maintaining health-related apps, I decided to apply as a project head in one of Apple, Inc.’s health AI projects. Since then, I have led health AI initiatives and produced a handful of apps that some of the leading hospitals in America rely on. As my latest employer is about to transfer ownership of their company, I find it in my best interest to apply to one of the most competitive healthcare and IT institutions today. I would love to take on brand new challenges with you.”
Manager-level applicants may no longer be as keen on the specifics of their work experience. As somebody who has been on the field for a long time, applicants should prioritize making themselves more valuable during an interview.
Own your next interview
The tips and samples listed above can take you to places. However, knowing how to answer one interview question is not enough to secure your dream job.
Be a well-rounded applicant. Continue to learn how to nail a job interview and never be too complacent. Hopefully, your next interview will turn into a job opportunity.