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Interview Yourself To Prepare Your Resume

Interview Yourself To Prepare Your Resume

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The traditional way that most people prepare their resume is to start recording “just the facts,” names, dates, and positions. It’s driven in part by the paradigm of the application forms that many companies used to use – or still use in an electronic format. The same is true for the creation of a LinkedIn profile, driven by their profile paradigm for experience, skills, and so on.

Related: How To Prepare For A Job Interview

There’s an alternative for preparing both your resume and your online profiles that will result in a stronger, clearer picture of not just your “experience,” but your accomplishments – in a format that will more likely spark interest among potential employers.

“Just the facts” should end with the headline for each of your jobs. That’s the job title, organization, and dates. But that’s it! Don’t continue to create a short list of boring job duties. Don’t do this:

  • Manager and lead chef
  • Developed regional skills development program
  • Manage 15 full and part-time employee

Interview Yourself

The interview you conduct with yourself is simple – but it has great depth that will not only help you prepare your resume but help you prepare for potential interviews. Here’s the first question:

Please describe your current position and your greatest accomplishment in the last year!

You’ve already answered the first part, just the facts, so focus on the second part, your greatest accomplishment.  In an interview, this should be a two to three-minute response. For your resume, it should only be 2-3 lines long. One advantage of a LinkedIn profile is that your experience – ACCOMPLISHMENTS – can be longer. Maybe it’s something like this:

  • Reduced food waste from 7.2% to 5.2% in three months, exceeding company goal of 5.9%, resulting in $60K annual cost reduction. Accomplished by improved inventory management focusing on daily goals and positive work habits.

Next, ask yourself for another accomplishment in your current position. “Record, refine, repeat” for your other positions. Two or three accomplishments for each position is a general guideline. For positions that are four or five years ago, you can include only one key accomplishment.

It’s important to check to make sure that your “accomplishments” are not just individual accomplishments. There’s a natural tendency to initially focus on what “I did” on the job. In today’s team and collaborative environment, it’s equally important to present your leadership or team skills. Here’s a question to prompt that:

In your current position, please describe your most significant leadership or team accomplishment.

Make sure your response is specific. Follow a format that describes the Challenge, the Action you took, and the Result (C-A-R) 

Here’s an example response:

  • Identified high turnover indicating “too much work” and “poor recognition.” Reduced turnover by 44% working side by side with individual team members and supporting their work in a fast-paced, high-pressure, increased productivity and morale via cross-training.

When suggesting this approach, I’m often challenged with “this type of response requires answers that are too long.” First of all, in an interview, you can provide a lot of detail in an effective, two or three-minute response. You can do the same in a powerful two or three-line bullet point for your resume.

  • Challenge: High turnover
  • Action: Working side by side with individual team members
  • Result: Reduced turnover by 44%

Powerful statements do not have to be long. In reality, the short answers pack a punch that inspires potential employers to want more detail. In the examples I’ve provided above, I’d want to know more:

  • How this person “focused on positive work habits.” I’d say “give me an example…”
  • “Tell me more” about the cross training… What were the challenges?

Action verbs on your resume are critical – but it’s more than just one word. The specificity that you can provide in a description that is still short is the key. Here’s a final example from the above, “Developed a regional skills development program.”

  • Developed and presented a regional skills development program for compliance with new environmental regulations. The program included classroom presentation materials and online quizzes.  A program evaluation indicated 90% “good to outstanding” quality.

Conclusion

Specific, “accomplishment” answers describe the results of what you’ve done, not just the activity of typical job duty statements. They’re interesting, and that makes the reader curious to know more. That increases your likelihood of being interviewed or selected for a position. To implement these ideas for your resume or LinkedIn profile, simply “Record – Refine – Repeat!”


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a Work It Daily-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.


Photo Credit: Bigstock


Jim Schreier

Jim Schreier is a management consultant with a focus on management, leadership, including performance-based hiring and interviewing skills. Visit his website at www.farcliffs.com.