Why a Great Resume is Your First Step to a Successful Job Interview

Interview ChecklistJob search in the new millennium is different and difficult for many job seekers, especially Men & Women of A Certain Age, professionals who are used to being recruited, people at all levels in all professions who have not been involved in a job search or updated and modernized their résumé for at least the past 3-5 years, and especially for those who are still social media challenged.

Whereas it is true employers do not hire a résumé, the vast majority of job seekers are totally unaware of the behind the scenes influence a professional or amateur looking résumé has on candidate selection and the subliminal impact it has in an interview.

So let me open your minds to a new set of dynamics that can help you get desired results faster and with much less frustration.

The key to a successful résumé is the same as the key to a successful job interview. You must approach both from the perspective of the person sitting behind the desk asking the questions and not from the vantage point of the person sitting in the interviewee’s chair. In one sentence what this means is “ a resume and job interview is less about what you have to offer than you think it is and everything about what recruiters, screeners, interviewers and decision makers want to buy.”

Unless you’re able to avoid the natural tendency to place YOU and what you do best front and center and transition your mindset to understand and address the buyer’s needs, priorities and value system your job search may not go as you hoped and planned.

Here are two key reasons a standout résumé is so vital for a successful interview.

Point #1: Whether you believe it or not the likelihood is >65% of the people who apply for the jobs you applied to are a carbon copy of you; and I dare say this rises to >85% among those chosen along with you for a face-to-face job interview. You’ll all have similar experience, have undertaken the same job responsibilities, have equivalent education and skills sets, and share most other factors employers look for in certain roles such as leadership ability and industry specific knowledge & experience etc.

Therefore your résumé, and by extension your job interview, must go well beyond the “You want someone who has been there and done that” – “I have been there and done that” dialogue if you are going to come out on top. The goal of both is to place you apart from the other contenders and not come across as merely one more really good candidate in a crowded field of lookalikes.

Point #2: When a recruiter or company interviewer prepares for the initial round of interviews there are many people they select and you are one among them. However before anyone walks through the company’s door the interviewer mentally sorted all the candidates he or she is scheduled to meet into 2 distinct categories based in great part on their résumé and LinkedIn page (a vital topic to be addressed at another time).

The candidates with the best résumés enter the interview with a distinct advantage because the interviewer is already predisposed to see them as viable and, sight unseen, they’re already seriously considering hiring them or passing them upstream if they live up to their advance billing.

Usually there are only 1 or 2 people in this category. They are the odds on favorites to be hired because the interviewer is looking to confirm their value and worth and screen them into the company and away from their competitors in talent acquisition. Therefore the interview will be friendlier and less confrontational and these candidates will be shown an extra degree of respect.

The second category of candidates being interviewed is what I call “The Usual Suspects”; candidates who based on their résumé are near impossible to differentiate one from the other. These are the majority of those interviewed and they enter the interview room needing to sell themselves from the first second of the interview onward because the interviewer mentally goes into this meeting in DESELECT mode looking to weed people out of contention within the first 5 minutes and go on to the next prospect.

That said, this is why to enter an interview as a front runner you need to make certain that your résumé positions you as such.

As a courtesy to all readers, I am happy to offer a no cost / no obligation resume critique if you forward it along to me at perry@perrynewman.com

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