If you’ve been to job interviews, perhaps you’ve already experienced being asked, “Walk me through your resume” by the interviewer. This is one of the classic job interview questions.
Interviewers often ask this at the beginning of an interview to start a conversation and learn more about an interviewee’s professional background. Also, this gives the interviewees the chance to provide in-depth information about their qualifications.
But, what answer are interviewers expecting when they ask this job interview question? We’ll cover how you can walk the interviewer through your resume so you can prepare your best answer and create the right first impression.
Why interviewers ask “walk me through your resume”
Interviewers and hiring managers ask the job interview question, “Walk me through your resume,” to get an overview of your work experiences and skills you have to qualify for the job you are trying to land. It doesn’t mean that you need to walk them word for word through your resume. What they want is to get a sense of how you view your career and qualifications.
Although all the essential details are already in your resume, interviewers want to learn more about the interviewee than a one-page resume can provide. They want to hear your career history directly from you as they gather their own thoughts and impressions during the whole interview process. This job interview question also provides further information on resume gaps and brings to life what is in your resume.
Adding a human element will help you demonstrate that you are passionate about the particular field or role you have entered. Hiring managers want to hear these answers from the candidates as it signals that you will stay in the position longer and shows that you are the right candidate for this position.
They also put your communication and analytical skills to the test. They check if you can present them a comprehensive yet focused response about your career history, which details you only need to emphasize, and which other irrelevant details you should exclude.
How to answer “walk me through your resume”
You need to be mindful of how long you will answer this question because a typical job interview lasts only 15-30 minutes and it consists of various interview questions to see if you can perform the duties and fit in with the team.
One tip is to think of your answer like an elevator pitch. It should be concise and packed with information that will allow the interviewer to ask further questions. Your answer should not take any more than five minutes as you don’t want to take much of the allotted interview time.
Here’s how you can craft concise and well-pointed answers that will convey confidence yet allow the interviewer to dictate the direction of the interview:
- Stick to the most relevant topic to the interview, avoiding irrelevant information.
- As much as possible, try not to move away from your resume’s content. The interviewer already has an idea about you based on your resume and has questions listed to verify that information.
- Prepare to answer the possible interview questions the interviewer might ask based on the information in your resume.
Your answer should be relevant and tailored
Perform research to learn more about the company, position, and their mission, vision, and values. Mention how you can relate to the company professionally and see how the company can help you with your career plan.
Highlight the skills and achievements you have relevant to the position and how you are a great fit. Remember that you want to focus on the value you can bring to the employer and tie the job to your plans and ambitions. Here’s a little hack in drafting your best answer:
- Make a list of the required accomplishments, skills, and experiences for the job role.
- Create another list of your accomplishments, skills, and experiences.
- Write down the related skills, experiences, other keywords, and action verbs found in the job ad and your professional list.
- Show how you perform at work by including quantifiable results.
Focus on your accomplishments and skills relevant to the role
Most candidates don’t feel comfortable bragging a little about their most impressive experience. But you should take the opportunity to talk about your accomplishments. Highlight particular achievements throughout your career, and using quantifiable data can prove your professional achievements. Here are some tips in preparing your list of accomplishments:
- Choose achievements that are worthy enough of being quoted on your resume.
- Quantify each of those achievements. Use parameters as if it helped your team or company increase sales, productivity, or if it resulted in significant benefit to your targeted people.
- Analyze the job description and the employer. Then, find out how you can relate your accomplishments. Show the interviewer that your past accomplishments could benefit their company.
- Don’t claim achievements that are not yours. According to a survey, 85% of the recruiters said that candidates exaggerate their skills and competencies in their resumes. Be honest and don’t lie on your resume and during your interview. Getting caught in lying will only damage the opportunity and your chances of getting hired.
- Use the STAR method to give the interviewer enough details to understand your example or proof.
Ask the interviewer what they want to know particularly
It is okay to clarify with the interviewers what information they want to hear to know where to start explaining your resume. You can ask them what they are interested in with your general overview? Do they only want to hear your work history from five years ago? Or are they curious to know everything from the start of your career?
Otherwise, there are some approaches that you can take to prepare your answer:
- You can start from the coursework you took that led you to your professional career.
- Briefly describe how you entered and started your career.
- Emphasize how the role and company can help you with your career goals.
“Walk me through your resume” sample answer
To help you structure your best answer, check out this example:
After I got my RN license, I started my career as a registered nurse practitioner at ABC Hospital for four years while obtaining my Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). After receiving my MSN, I transferred to XYZ Hospital, becoming a Nurse Practitioner. I didn’t stop taking the certification exam and continued challenging myself to grow. Then four years later, I got promoted to Clinical Nurse Leader, where I managed a team of between six to 12 staff. I also oversee care delivery for inpatients with an average daily admission, transfer, and discharge rate of 15 patients.
I have always admired your mission to provide excellent quality and services to your patients and your commitment to excellence in all that your hospital does. Although I have already established my career at XYZ Hospital and made personal and professional connections, it has always been my dream to work at your hospital since I was still in college because I share the same values. Because of my drive and experiences, I firmly believe that I am an excellent candidate for this position.
Walking an interviewer through your resume doesn’t mean that you need to tell the whole history of your work experience. Answering this job interview question shouldn’t take you more than five minutes if you only highlight the relevant skills and achievements from your previous and current job experiences.
Explore some of the career development online courses on how you can crush your job interview and use the tips we’ve provided in this article to nail your “Walk me through your resume” answer and provide the answers hiring managers want to hear.
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