In a close basketball game 60 seconds can seem like an eternity. The same can be said for pulling out a victory in a football game in the last seconds. What about your 60 second resume strategy in winning the job interview in a very competitive job opening.
The answer is to break your resume into powerful 60 second answers. Answers to interview questions that you can bank on are going to be asked in many job interviews.
First, let’s step back and examine what the employer is looking for to fill the job opening. The prospective employer will normally have three to six key skills or qualifications that they are looking for in filling the position. In each of these skill sets they will have challenges that the individual hired will be expected to resolve.
To be successful in your job interview you cannot expect the interviewer or hiring manager to connect the dots regarding your work experience and take the time to match them up with the job requirements. This assumption may work occasionally but by being proactive and focused you will substantially increase the likelihood of besting your competition.
The odds are you are being called in for the face-to-face job interview because your written resume and cover letter sold the prospective employer that your skills matched the job requirements better that the vast majority of applicants. You answered some basic questions in the telephone interview and were moved into the final group.
Now let’s develop a winning strategy to be #1 in this very competitive group.
Your interview preparation will fall into two main areas, and you’ll quickly see there will be a range of overlap as you prepare your winning answers to the interview questions. One area will be the answering of ‘behavioral” questions the other “job related.”
The foundation of most job interviews is the asking of a dozen or so basic questions: Tell me about yourself? What are your strengths? What is your greatest weakness? Tell me about your best boss? Best job? Why? Worst boss? Worst job? Why? Biggest challenge? Why? What was the outcome? Biggest disappointment? Why? What are you looking for in a job? Why? You get the idea, and you can come up with several dozen additional questions. Properly answering the interview questions will follow some basic ideas which we’ll demonstrate by answering several questions.
You can then build your interview preparation and practice from these principals in your 60 second resume strategy.
Lets say, for example, the job opening is a “Customer Service Manager.” Key requirements for the position are, “Leadership skills, develop innovative new and revised work methods, analyze and plan for improved customer service and strong written and oral communication skills.”
The first question asked by the interviewer is “tell me about yourself?” Stop-now is not the time to ramble on about your life history. Think, what does the employer want? Leadership, innovation, plan for improved customer service and communication skills. Your 60 second resume answer should strongly reflect your abilities in each of the four key areas.
How’s this for a suggested answer, “I grew up in Hartland, WI, was elected captain of the cross-country team for two years. In my sophomore year on the team I came up with a fund-raising program with the team running a long trail race. We donated over a $1000 a year to a local food bank. The program is still going strong even though I been out of high school over 15 years. In college, I developed a speaking and mentoring program for at risk high school students. I received an award from the local school district for helping keep over 30 students in school and graduating.”
“In my last job as customer service manager, I developed an innovative training program along with new policies that reduced long-standing customer service problems by over 85%. I sold the new program to top management and in six months our improved customer service results were credited with bringing in over $300,000 in new business.”
How about this answer for the question, “tell me about the worst boss you ever had?” Please, this is not the time to bad mouth someone, even though you had one boss that would make Attila the Hun look like a choir boy.
Here’s your suggested 60 second answer, “I’ve never had what I would call a bad boss, I’ve learned something about leadership and management from all of them. I did, however, have one boss that would give me very little guidance on a project, but I quickly learned to ask questions and keep him briefed on progress of the project. I consistently earned above average performance ratings from him.”
To beef up the answer you might add some results from a successful “customer service” project.
Each of your interview answers should attempt to hit on two or more of the key skills desired in the job. Write out good tough interview questions on one side of a card with your good answers on the opposite side. In your answers highlight two or more of the key skills desired in the job. And these skills should be drawn from what you’ve written in your resume.
Hone your-interviewing techniques by taping a mock interview. Have someone critique your performance. Look to eliminate bad habits. Be sure you act engaged in the interview. When you’re happy with the results you’ll be ready.
With your well prepared 60 second resume answers the interviewer will not have to guess and try to connect the dots. You will have clearly demonstrated you are the best candidate for the position.