One of the most common interview questions out there that many people find themselves struggling to explain is when a recruiter asks them to walk them through their resume.
It may sound like a simple request but one that can turn into a challenge and make or break your first impression for that recruiter.
But what exactly are interviewers looking for when they ask you this question? And what is the best way for you to respond?
At MentorCruise, we’re providing a step-by-step framework that will help you to confidently take charge of this question and walk someone through your resume the right way.
Why Employers Ask “Walk Me Through Your Resume”
When an employer asks you to walk them through your resume, they want to learn more about you and your experiences beyond what the one-page resume can provide. Their main goal in mind with this question is to assess the kind of person you are and whether you’ll be a good addition to the company’s corporate culture.
Moreover, it is no easy feat to condense your life’s work and present them in a comprehensive, yet focused response. This puts your skills to the test, having you carefully analyze which details should be emphasized and which ones can take a backseat for the moment.
Remember, the interviewer does not want you to walk them word for word through your resume. Keep it brief with the most relevant information at the forefront.
You can put your best foot forward in an interview by hiring interview coaching services from some of the best mentoring platforms online. An experienced mentor will offer constructive feedback based on your particular set of issues.
How to Answer “Walk Me Through Your Resume” Effectively
How you answer this question depends largely on your own specific resume and the amount of experience you have under your belt. However, here are a few useful tips that hold true whether you are a seasoned professional or a fresh graduate who is new on the job market:
Clarify What the Interviewer is Looking For
The best way to start going about explaining your resume is to ask the employer what they are looking for in particular. It is okay to clarify exactly what the employer wants to hear. For instance, you can ask questions such as:
- Do they want a general overview?
- How far back do they want you to go?
- Is there anything that they are particularly interested in?
Start With Your Education and/or internships
This is not particularly important for you to discuss thoroughly but it serves as a good starting point. Briefly cover your college coursework that relates to the job at hand and connect it with how it led to your professional endeavors. If you’re applying for a senior position, you can just briefly mention your education or relevant internships.
Explain Your Professional Experience
Your professional history is going to take up the majority of this answer.
You can start by describing your motivation behind entering this particular field. You can then move on and lead into your professional work experience, starting from the beginning.
Vital: Remember to skip the boring and irrelevant stuff. If you’re a developer, but used to be a salesperson, focus on how this varied experience gives you an edge over other applicants. Don’t get into the nitty-gritty of doing sales.
Instead of sounding boring, showcase your passion for the position by talking enthusiastically about your work history.
Highlight Your Skills and Accomplishments
Use the interview question as your chance to shine and boast about your career accomplishments. By highlighting your achievements, the employer will know that you are passionate about your career and are goal-oriented.
While you are doing that, take a moment and tie your skills and accomplishments with what the employer is looking for with this job role. You can explain how your skill set has helped you in the past and how it can help you in the future, too.
Show How You Can Add Value and Why You Will Be a Good Fit
The primary underlying motive for an employer to ask you about your resume is to see why they should hire you. Which is why you need to highlight specific skills and expertise that fit the job.
Add a few key details of what you have learned from each job you’ve ever held and how that could translate into the current role. You need to show the employer why you are the right person for them. Always remember to establish a through-line and connect your past experiences with how you can serve the organization you are applying to.
For instance, if you want to work in a tech role, focus on your technical knowledge and how you can use technology to find real-world solutions.
At MentorCruise, there is no shortage of tech mentors with an arsenal of knowledge through their years of experience who are ready to help you achieve your goals. Their guidance can help you navigate the professional world and experience exponential career growth. Working with these mentors will provide you with the necessary support and accessibility you need to excel in your field.
The STAR Method
The STAR interview method is a technique that can help you navigate your interview questions like an expert. This method will let you give concise and clear responses while walking a recruiter through your resume and providing necessary insight into relevant expertise and skills.
This method can especially come in handy during interviews where you may be subjected to a much more rigorous line of questioning, such as questions posed in second interviews where the aim is to thoroughly examine your personality against the job role.
Applying the STAR technique will ensure that you are fully addressing the employer’s request and demonstrating your skills to successfully perform the task at hand, which, in this case, is to provide the recruiter with a summary of your resume.
The STAR format stands for:
Here, situation means setting the stage for the story by sharing a particular challenge you faced. Spend the least amount of time talking about this part of the answer. Identify and mention two or three important aspects of the information to provide the interviewer with context about the situation.
Task describes your responsibility or assignments in the challenging situation. This part of your answer also requires minimal time. Once again, consider boiling it down to one or two main points.
Action explains the specific steps you undertook to overcome the challenge. This part of your answer should be the most comprehensive as this is going to indicate your expertise. Discuss a few of the most impactful steps you took that led to a viable solution.
The result part of the answer will refer to the outcome you reached through your actions. After action, this would be the most important part to focus on. Decide on two to three impressive results you were able to generate. These successful outcomes are a testimonial of your skillfulness as an employee.
Similar to how the STAR method provides you with an effective template to tackle interview questions, using MentorCruise’s platform provides 1-on-1 access to industry experts that are well-versed in overcoming challenging aspects of the interviewing process.
Now that you have got the hang of the STAR template, let’s have a look at some of the sample answers to see how you can apply it.
As a university student majoring in computer science, my main interest was always towards web development and graphic design. It merged two of my passions and interests: coding and design. I spent most of my time drawing out the graphics for the websites I built and programming them to provide the best user experience possible.
As a result, my goal was to get work in frontend web development, a role that would allow me to exercise my coding and graphic designing skills simultaneously. At the same time, I also wanted to have a taste of working alongside a team in a big tech company.
That’s why I applied for a relevant role and landed an internship at Microsoft. There, not only did I hone my skills as a programmer, but the job role also taught me how to work with teams and collaborate with other developers and designers. It taught me how to translate my team’s wishes into the work I produced while instilling in me a work ethic that helped me provide my best work while still sticking to the given deadlines.
Working as an intern at Microsoft, I developed a collaborative workflow that allows developers and designers to work collectively and provide efficient solutions. As a result, not only do I have an amplified sense of teamwork, I am also better able to communicate and understand my client’s perspective, allowing me to come up with solutions that optimize and enhance the overall user experience with what I design and create.
Tinkering with my computer and finding creative ways to solve a system problem was something that interested me as a kid. This was also what served as my primary motivation towards pursuing a computer engineering degree.
Since computer hardware was my main interest, I wanted to start my career with a company that would allow me to work with industry-experts in this particular field. My goal was to experience the environment firsthand and see how things are put together on an organizational scale.
I got my first job at Razer which served as a stepping stone for the rest of my career in hardware development. At Razer, I worked with competitive individuals driven by their passion to create innovative hardware and software systems used by gamers all over the world. My role as a junior level hardware engineer gave me the opportunity to work alongside talented individuals and learn from my peers.
The drive to provide creative solutions was then transformed to my next job role at Nvidia. Here, I learned the power of working with teams and collaborating with people on a larger scale. While still working as a hardware engineer, I sharpened my soft skills of project and team management by taking online courses from reputable sources and earning my certification.
I then successfully applied these skills in my work and was able to lead a team of engineers to successful project completion multiple times.
Given the fact that my previous job roles allowed me to practice both my engineering skills and project management skills, I not only fully understand the technical aspects of being an engineer but am also well-versed in managing a team of individuals to allow for successful project execution. My hands-on engineering knowledge along with the ability to lead a team forward makes me a well-rounded candidate for this position.
Explain Your Resume like a Pro
“Walk me through your resume” is one of the most dreaded interview questions, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right frame of mind and a little preparation, you will be able to walk any interviewer through your resume with confidence.
Providing you with the boldness to face challenging interview questions head-on, MentorCruise gives you access to world-class mentors and experts in their field who are eager to guide you forward in your journey. There is no better way than to learn from the best. Try it for yourself and experience firsthand career benefits of joining MentorCruise today.