How to Talk Up Your Resume

We frequently answer questions from you guys on how to format your resume so you’re not overwhelming or underwhelming your potential employer.   But once you have your resume in perfect form and it has caught the attention of a company, what do you do next?

When I was first beginning to interview, I would almost get annoyed when I would go in for a meeting and my future-colleagues had not read my resume.   Now that the tables have turned, I completely understand why they didn’t go through it with a fine tooth comb – that’s the HR representative’s job.   Interviewers have usually only skimmed the headlines of a resume, and haven’t gotten into the nitty gritty details.

What does this mean for you? You not only need to know your resume like the back of your hand, but you need to be able to clearly and efficiently talk to your strongest points as a candidate.   Here are some pointers:

Your college isn’t as important as your experience there– Welcome to the real world. Though where you went to college is a point of interest in your interview conversation, it will not make or break your relationship with your interviewer.   Make sure you play up your experience and key projects at your school.   Which sounds more impressive – “I went to Brown,” or “I went to Loyola University where I majored in American Studies, an honors major.   I wrote my senior thesis on Extreme Religions in the United States, and let me tell you that was a wild ride…”?

Don’t skimp on the details – When you’re nervous, it’s easy to rush over the day-to-day responsibilities of your previous jobs and just say, “I waited tables” or “I stuffed gift bags.”   Play to the daily tasks that made your job important, even if you don’t think it’s 100% relevant to PR.   Even if you worked the counter at a coffee shop, you can say “I was responsible for weekly in-store promotions and reporting on customer engagement to management.”

Play up an extracurricular – Until just recently, I kept on my classes at Alvin Ailey Dance Company in college on my resume.   Ballet was/is a huge part of my life, and it’s an excellent talking point for interviews.   Sorority positions, summer camp management, varsity/club sports… these can all find a place on your resume and in your interview.

How do you play up your resume?

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