Sitting across the table from the person whom I was assisting with interviewing questions, it became clear that this individual was experiencing the same affliction as so many others when it comes to resume writing and interviewing for a job.
The affliction is content not representing intent.
When it comes to resumes, a question I always ask is this, “What is the overall impression you are looking to convey with your resume?” The answers offer a wide variety of thoughts. Some are humorous responses, which I always appreciate. Others respond with a view that their competencies need to be showcased so they can get that next job. Many replied, ‘that they should hire me.”
The resume is a piece of paper that becomes a chore to write on when it is time or update or refine your resume. However, that piece of paper is an opportunity to tell the story of who you are.
Knowing what you want to convey, including core impressions you want to leave your audience with while reading your resume, is a step that can ease the process of writing your resume.
It is the same as if you were writing an essay. It is an overall storyline with chapters that support the whole story. Those resume bullet points, randomly thrown together, jump from thought to thought as our brains come up with the points we want to share. It rarely tells a story in an organized fashion.
Resumes are an opportunity not only to let the potential employer know why they should be interested in interviewing you but also to tell your story as you want it told. People like stories because storytelling connects the dots in our brains and creates a cohesive view of what we are reading. Anyone reading a resume is not exempt from this same brain process.
It is essential to arrange the bullets and use words that tell your story in a way that contributes to an overall impression that you want to convey so you can get that interview.
I love to practice interviewing with clients. It is one is the most effective ways to truly see how that person thinks, which also is indicative of how they will behave in the workplace.
Again, content must represent intent.
Some of those tough questions asked in interviews are in the area of managing conflict, dealing with tough clients or co-workers, or having to challenge one’s manager.
If you have not practiced answering these questions with someone else, I encourage you to do so. The most significant misstep in responding to these questions is that you have a story you want to tell, but it does not answer the question. Rather than allowing that misstep to occur during the interview, I will make them take it on with full force during the practice round. “That is a great story. Now, please answer the question.”
Too often, there is a desire to tell specific stories that reflect emotional experiences we have had in our past. Because we have a strong emotion attached to it, there is this inner drive to make sure it is shared, even though, it sidesteps the question. I have seen it repeatedly in interviews. If it is going to happen in an interview, how is it going to play out in the workplace?
“I think I will pass on this candidate.” No one wants that outcome.
Having someone who will be honest with you during the development of your resume as well as interview prep is of the utmost highest priority. You cannot get into the running if you can’t get your resume pulled out of the pile, or if you can’t get by the first interview.
I remember when I had a retired CEO prepping me for a big interview. As I was answering questions, I did not need to hear his words. I could see his eyes glaze over in boredom. It hurt! It was painful! And it was precisely what I needed to see. He then coached me through the process. I got that job!
Most people being interviewed will never notice the glazed over eyes because, during the interview itself, we are fixated on telling their preferred stories.
If you want to be in the running for that next job, one of the ways to make that happen is to ensure that content truly represents your intent.