Q: In a job interview I recently did, I got myself into a right lather trying to deal with the ‘talk us through your CV’ question – the very first question of the day. I felt like I was talking for an age. I could see they were getting bored, and I started to doubt my answer as I went through it, but I just didn’t know how to cut it short. I never recovered my composure after that opening answer and I didn’t get the job, though I was a strong candidate going in the door. Any tips? (KD, email).
A: The first thing to bear in mind is that when they ask you to talk them through your CV, they don’t really mean ‘talk us through every last twist and turn of your CV’, writes Liam Horan, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers.
Try to offer a glancing run through your career to date, with emphasis on those parts of that are relevant to the rule you are now chasing.
Apart from observing that rule when the question is asked at any time during the interview, I would also add a second relevant point for you, KD: generally speaking, make the first answer fairly short. Don’t try to boil the ocean. Use that time to settle yourself in, to catch your breath and to get your bearings.
You may be out of breath after climbing the stairs from the waiting room to the interview room or, more to the point, you’re likely to be nervous.
So be easy on yourself. Get talking, build some rapport and deal with the first question or two as easily as you can. There will be plenty of time to elaborate in detail once you get into the flow of things.
Liam Horan is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers in Ballinrobe.
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