A former colleague of mine notably said, “anyone can say that they walked on the moon, but if you don’t tell me about what it was actually like, I’m not going to believe you!”
This is something that over the years has stuck with me. Job applicants often think that, as we have their resume, that is all the information we need. It is naïve to believe this, and it is surprising how often I hear responses such as:
- “Oh, it’s all in my resume…”
- “Don’t you have a copy of my CV?”
- “It’s pretty self-explanatory really…”
- “I can’t remember off the top of my head, but it’s all written down there”
- “I don’t have time to go into that now”
Whether it is an initial conversation over the phone with a potentially suitable candidate, or sitting with them in an interview, these responses still bewilder me.
Your resume is a very important tool in your job search. To use a fishing analogy, it is the bait on the hook. If it’s the wrong bait, you won’t get any bites. If it is okay bait, you may get a few nibbles and if it’s the perfect bait you can reel in that big fish – or in this case – your perfect job.
Resumes, however, are a snapshot of who you are and what you have done. They are a precis, not a novel and that is why recruiters and hiring managers to ask lots of questions.
We need to find out more. We may be nibbling at that bait – is it really tasty? Do we bite, or let it go?
When interviewing, I understand as a “Legal Assistant” based on your resume, that you have experience with billing, diary management, preparing court documents, etc. but I want to hear more.
I want to know what took up most of your time, the aspects that you found more challenging, or more enjoyable, who you supported, whether the travel arrangements you made were domestic or international, how many matters you worked on, what areas of law you worked across. Not all these details are included in the bullet points on your resume and as a recruiter, I like to dig deep!
I also want to know what you’d like your future to look like. Your CV tells me about your past. Your skills may be perfectly matched for a role that I’m recruiting for but if you are sick of doing particular tasks in your current role, let’s not waste time. Let’s explore opportunities that will excite you.
The more I understand about what you have achieved previously, the skills and experience you can bring to your next role, and what is important to you in your career, the better I can assist.
Never miss the opportunity to really highlight your skillset. Of course, your resume includes a summary of your experience and hiring managers and recruiters can read that but bring it to life.
Show enthusiasm. Don’t just rely on ink on paper to showcase your abilities. Tell us more.