IS YOUR RESUME A COMPLETE AND A WHOLE REPRESENTATION OF WHO YOU ARE ?
A resume DOES NOT do justice to what you are as an individual, or what kind of person you are to work with.
A resume DOES NOT give a complete picture of the challenges you faced before you won that “Allrounder Award” in 2010. It does not talk about why you choose a particular path. It hardly tells the other person the reason for the job transitions you have had.
Have you ever thought from the hiring managers point of view?
For him your resume and the resume of the 10 other people who came for the interview, they all pretty much look the same. It is the same technical skills, more or less the same experience, or similar academic qualifications. But is it fair to equate your experience with the others just by the look of a resume? Unfortunately, that is how it works!
The various incidents, experiences, narratives of your life are a very valuable predictor of your future performance. And for obvious reasons, it all cannot fit in an 8 by 12 inches piece of paper.
Let’s imagine a situation that you are sitting across an interview panel. Your resume has been looked at, chosen and now you have a wonderful chance of presenting yourself in every possible way to leave a lasting impression.
In one of the previous article we did an exercise on “Self-Awareness” in the “Who am I” article.
So, you are at a good place. You have a deep understanding of yourself which is very important during this very phase of giving an interview.
And then a question is thrown at you “Why should we hire you?
Despite doing this very exercise on your strengths, you are at a loss. Why so?
Most of the times a candidate fails to give an answer that is directly related to the questions.
Here’s why –
People fail to connect the dots and recall the relevant information at the right time. It is all about understanding and seeing the pattern in things and taking the leap of putting it together and then delivering a response in a cohesive and an effective manner.
SELF PROFILING – A “CHEAT SHEET” FOR INTERVIEWS!!
The trick is in self profiling. Using the information that we have with the “Who Am I “exercise and putting it in a way that will help our minds to project the right information at the right time.
Before we make the matrix , let us put down a checklist of some skills and scenarios where we use such skills. Remember, this list is not exhaustive.[table id=19 /]
Life Events-Skills Matrix[table id=18 /]
HOW TO USE THIS MATRIX?
Based on the various scenarios/situations you have faced during your student life, your professional life, personal life, think about the skills that you exhibited. For ex – The time when you worked in a big cross functional team ( that is your scenario) and had to be a strong team-worker (example of skill used would be team player. ) Now use the matrix to map out various other skills that you can think of corresponding to the many events in your life.
HOW IS THIS EXERCISE HELPING YOU?
Let’s take an example of a question in an interview-
“Tell me a time when you had to deal with multiple stakeholders. What were the challenges you faced and how did you overcome?”
It will be definitely be a difficult question to think off hand if you are not prepared with the response. This question prompts you to think about a “situation “in your life where you overcame a challenge and may or may not have been successful at the end of it. What is important is –
- To recall the right situation out of the many scenario’s in your life
- Once you decide which situation you are going to talk about, next is for you to give examples of how you used the necessary skills ( It can be quite an array of skills you have used in a particular situation if you give it a good thought) to face the challenges.
- And third most important aspect is discussing the outcome.
This was a direct question for you to talk about a situation. There may be other questions which may not directly prompt you to quote a situation but definitely, you will have to think of the right one to arrive at a convincing answer. For example –
“Describe a major goal you’ve set for yourself recently.”
What should be your ideal thought process ??
- Think of of an example of a goal you have set and achieved. Taking an example from the matrix below- I aimed for getting the 1st prize during the dance competition.
- Think of more such patterns of accomplishment where you wanted to excel. Get a sports quota scholarship.
- Now you can talk about how you set on to achieve goals you set for yourself based on these scenarios.
This indicates that you are focused, you set realistic goals and you are motivated to work towards it.
WHY IS RECALLING THE RIGHT EVENT AND THE REQUIRED SKILLS, APTITUDE AND ABILITIES SO IMPORTANT?
When you can recall the right event at the right time and fit it into the question that was asked “seamlessly”, you –
- Create clear differentiation between a not so good answer and a very good answer
- Successful in grabbing the interviewer’s attention. Interviewers love hearing a response where a story is weaved into it. By thinking about the corresponding situation in your life and stating it as an example will make your response not only compelling but very interesting as well.
- Are making powerful impact with your answers which will help the hiring manager take a decision post the interview. For ex – 10 people are asked the same question. 2 of them build give the right examples to support their answers. Which answers do you think the interviewer will remember at the end of those 10 interviews? But ofcourse, the ones where the candidate managed to recall the right events and showcase the skills and abilities he used.
For someone who is not well prepared or who just regurgitates the usual, run of the mill responses, these questions are going to pose a herculean task. A not so good response is marked by fumbles, pauses and hmms… Whereas a well-rehearsed answer is a confident, persuasive and convincing response.
Use this matrix to start thinking at the right direction. As they rightly say, Well begun is half done !!