Q: At the start of the interview, they asked me to “walk us through your CV”. I probably rambled on. It’s not today or yesterday that I started in the workplace. Eventually they cut me short before I’d even got to my current role. I realised then I’d probably made a hash of it. The interview never recovered. I got the Dear John email a few days later. It was almost an ease to me. How can I do better next time? (JL, email).
A: In interviews, focus more on relevance than chronology. A chronological presentation of one’s CV can be a passion killer – it’s predictable and can lead to discussions of irrelevant details that don’t interest the interviewers. Instead, skim through any irrelevant parts and focus on the two or three roles that are most relevant to the job you’re chasing.
Before the interview, take some time to think through the key points you wish to make about each of these roles. What did you learn there? What did you achieve? How did you develop? Having these points at the ready will get you through the answer without having to fumble around in the dark hoping you’ll land on something good.
Another important aspect of your CV to consider is what’s missing. The ‘walk us through’ question is a good time to talk about upcoming training or development needs related to the job. Showing you’re aware of your own need for development can be a positive thing, as it demonstrates your willingness to learn and grow.
Finally, consider highlighting one aspect of your personal, community or voluntary lives that may interest the interviewers. This could be anything from captaining a sports team to a personal accomplishment, such as breaking three hours for the marathon or reaching the base camp of Mount Everest. These details can help to give the interviewers a better sense of who you are as a person.
In short, this question is a great opportunity to score points in a job interview. Use it wisely by focusing on relevance, preparing key points beforehand and highlighting any personal or professional achievements that make you stand out.
Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.
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