The ONE Mistake You Are Making During An Interview…

black women about business

What’s your response when the interviewer asks you, “ Please walk me through your resume?”

“Well, I graduated from here, and then started working here for a while, then I went to work over there……”

Didn’t get a callback? Do you ever wonder why? Maybe it’s because you just reiterated exactly what you have written on your resume, and the recruiter or interviewer did not learn anything new. There’s a good chance that they were completely bored with the interview and probably won’t even remember you. Whomp! Whomp! What the interviewer really wants to know is, what do you bring to the table? How will you and your experience add value to the organization they represent?

Please do NOT, I repeat. Please do NOT ever just repeat or reiterate exactly what you wrote on your resume.

That one mistake, may explain why you lost your chances of getting a job!

Your interview is an opportunity to show your personality and passion for the job you are pursuing. The first impression is always important, especially since this may be the first question the interviewer asked. You want to make sure the interviewer knows just how much you really want the job. You want the interviewer to come out of the conversation feeling like they have really come to know you, and how you will fit and add to their company, as well as your potential for success as an employee.

Fortunately, you can address this simple yet tricky question. You want to begin with a strong focus on what the interviewer is really asking you to do. They want to hear about your work experience and what you learned along the way.

Consider yourself to be sharing the highlights of your work experience, what you liked best about the job, what lessons did you learn about yourself, what technical skills did you acquire and how might these lessons and skills relate to the job you are seeking. You want to fully answer the question with the interviewer feeling confident that he or she understands why you want to work for the company. You do this by spending time in preparation.

Focus on 3 to 4 main points from your resume that makes the case of how well you fit with the job and the company. You want to be careful not to get caught up in the weeds, and bog down in the details. You don’t want to steer your comments through a bunch of unimportant details that risk boring your interviewer. Allow the interviewer to ask more questions about the things that interest them. Their follow-up or clarifying questions is a good sign that you have their attention.

Check out this example:

“During college, I interned at a fashion PR firm because I grew up loving fashion and beauty, but particularly, writing and editing. At the firm, I had the opportunity to network with many hardworking individuals and develop a mentoring relationship with one of the senior editors. Also, with my prior experience working as a journalist for my university’s newspaper and being student body president of the African American literature book club, I developed a keen interest in supporting a business that embraces women of color, which is something I have a deep connection with.

Furthermore, I like to highlight two things that I learned from the PR firm: first, that I loved how the company utilizes social media to engage with their consumers, and second, I was fortunate to bring my own creative ideas and perspective to the workplace, and see them being valued and making a difference. Learning these key points from my internship and extracurricular activities at school has led me to want to apply for this role.”

See how brief but strong this answer was?

With this example, the interviewer understands what lessons and skills the interviewee have learned throughout his or her work experience. It’s memorable. So, if you are normally shy or timid during interviews, it is vital to practice your answers along with controlling your body language. The main thing is to be confident and show your personality with each question. Try to do dry runs with a friend or trusted associate a few days before the interview. A good mentor is also invaluable in developing a story that fits your resume, and sparks interest.

This article was originally published on October 16, 2017. Updates have been made. 

Jasmin Williams is the founder and creative director (sometimes special guest writer) of Melanation. She loves sharing her experiences as a black woman working in corporate America and also passionate about women obtaining the necessary resources and information to thrive in their careers. In her spare time, she’s decorating her new home, occasionally watch documentaries on Netflix, learning Spanish, traveling, and reading a good self-help book. @jasminjanae

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