I have to share a rather embarrassing story with you. In my job search I was interviewed by a handful of companies… so each one was like gold. There was a company I was very, very interested in. They were a high-tech startup, focusing on hardware (as opposed to software). They had just received 8 million in funding. My boss would have been a guy who had a very successful career at Microsoft (he came out of retirement just to work at this company). If the company did well, I could have walked away with gobs of value in stock.
I borrowed my dad’s resume, which he had paid to get done. It looked great, of course, and really did him justice. I figured I could take his resume, change it to match my skills and experience, and I’d have a great resume also.
Everything on the resume was true… I didn’t fictionalize, lie, misrepresent, etc. But when I was in the interview I was asked “what do you mean by this skill? Can you give us an example?”
I had the deer-in-the-headlights look. My first thought was “where in the world did you see that? Surely it’s not on MY resume!”
In fact, it was on my resume. It was in a listing of skills or attributes, and I kept it on there because it fit something I had done as general manager at my last job. But when they asked the question, I couldn’t even remember what the skill meant… it was too jargony.
From that experience I learned something: READ YOUR OWN RESUME! Be prepared to talk about every single point you have on your resume! You should do this, obviously, to avoid the situation I had. But you should also do this because your resume, in one or two pages, describes your brand.
Do you know what your brand is? Do you know what you have to offer? Do you know the strengths that you are putting forward, and how you want to be known (and branded)?
No matter who wrote your resume (even if you did), you need to study your resume and internalize it.
If someone asks you “can you tell us about this skill, and give an example….” you can’t have the deer-in-the-headlights look. Doing so might raise a yellow flag.
Internalize your resume. Make sure it matches, and you can talk about each point in it. Or, be prepared to share your own embarrassing story with others 😉