You juggled through various websites and blogs over the internet; you asked your mentors, seniors, and contacted all those whom you could; you wrote it, erased and re-wrote it…..and much more. Well, the one who has been through this knows what I am referring to here. Resume. Yes, it takes a lot of research work to reach on the sort of resume that defines you. Why this much drama over a piece of paper? Well, I will ask why not? That is the first thing which you will be serving (sic.) In front of the interviewers. And as they as ‘the first impression is the last impression’, people leave no stone unturned to make this first appearance of theirs to be nothing less than ‘the best’.
After this heavy task is done, you move onto practicing for those tough behavioral questions; your strength, weakness questions, and in-fact you start digging out all the details for all that you have mentioned on your resume. But hey! What if your interviewer is not even interested in your resume at all? What if he keeps this piece of paper aside and asks you, tell me something that is not mentioned in your resume? What is it that the interviewer must know about you and that is not on your resume? Have you ever wondered about it? If not, then start doing because this is one of the favorite questions of interviewers.
Don’t worry, we got you covered; keep reading to know how to tackle this ‘out-of-resume’ question.
What the interviewer is trying to judge?
Superficially the questions seem illogical to many of the candidates who sit for the interview. When you have mentioned all that you have about yourself on the resume itself, then why is the interviewer interested in knowing the thing that is not mentioned? Well, the interviewers have some in-depth reasons for asking this question:
1. To know you: all that you have mentioned on your resume regarding your strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, and achievements do give an insight about you to an extent only. But the interviewer is interested in knowing more and in knowing about how much you know yourself?
2. Getting a sense of your personality: when you talk of yourself, you reflect your personality and character. The interviewer asks such a question from a candidate to know more about his or her personality and character traits.
3. Knowing some hidden qualities: your resume may give you space for your bio-data, your accomplishments, strengths, and even your weaknesses but there are still some of the things left which the interviewer must know. For example, the interviewer may want to know what your motivating factor is. What drives you? These cannot be mentioned in the resume but can be told beyond resume talks like this question.
4. Leaving the space open to talk about anything: so, here’s the trick. The interviewer asks this question from candidates and indicates that the floor is open for them to talk to. Here, the interviewer notices what the candidate talks about? If given a chance to open up about yourself, what topic of your life would you choose to go ahead? Will those talks be something rational or irrational talks?
Yeah! I know you must have already done some ‘next-level’ brain-storming for deciding on what to include and what not to include in your resume to make it some ‘super-level’ resume. And now you must be tired to think some more about yourself. But hold on, before giving up on something just get to know these pre-requisites:
1. Go through your resume again: there are high chances that when you will go through your resume once again you will remind of something that you have not mentioned in the resume but consider that information to be worthy enough to impress the interviewers. Or you may find something that doesn’t need to be on the resume but can be told if they offer such an open-ended question to you.
2. Selecting a part to talk about: while you go through your resume, be focused on selecting some point to talk about with the interviewer in an elaborative manner. The part that you need to select can be any strength (how you developed it and how do you use it) or any weakness (why you think that is your weakness and how would you overcome that) or it can be any skill (how this will help you with your new job at the organization).
3. Finding the potential part: if you think that you would not like to talk on anything that is mentioned on your resume during your interview then think of something that possibly can be a good start to this answer. For example, you can talk about developing a certain quality in yourself rather than choosing to talk about your failures.
Tips on what to include and what to avoid
About what to INCLUDE:
This is not some rocket science or whatever, there are just some basic things you need to mind while formulating your answer to this question and which are:
1. Discussing something positive: as mentioned above, start the answers with something that the interviewer would like to hear and that may impress him or her. A positive start with some quality in your or some good skill will surely make the listener more interested in listening to you.
2. Motivating factor works wonder: if you have nothing to talk about, talk motivation. What drives you and your desires? What is that which can make you more efficient, more dedicated, and more committed towards the organization?
3. Storytelling will never disappoint: storytelling? With any life-value moral? Oh no no, not that typical book-based story. I am talking about your story, the story of your life. You can describe your journey of being what you are today. If you think there is an improvement in your overtime, then discuss it as a response to this question. Describe how you used to be and how you are, what character you hold?
4. The reason why you left it off: well this can be in two ways. One is that the interviewer himself or herself may ask that why you left off this information from your resume or you may yourself describe the reason for doing so. Many of the candidates leave it up to the interviewers and do not tell so by themselves. But a thorough preparation of an answer to this question is required.
Things to AVOID
What not to say? Hmm…!! Easy, the thing that you have mentioned in the resume, should not be spoken of. Well, not that easy. Along with this fact, there are some other points as well as not to be mentioned in the answer to this question. These are:
1. Personal information: personal information is already mentioned in your resume. Well yes, that’s just basic information but you do not need to go in detail during the interview either. Opening about overly personal information is a big no.
2. Some irrelevant stuff: okay! Imagine that they ask this question form you and you go on telling about which all states have you visited. What??? Why?? Does it make any sense? No way. But if you relate this example with the fact that traveling is your hobby and on each trip, you learn something new that can probably help your career, then you are talking.
3. The thing those are implied: this question from the interviewer is a golden opportunity given to you to talk about anything you want and impress them. Do not waste it by talking about all those things that are implied or those that are already mentioned in the resume. For example, don’t talk about your strengths and weaknesses if they are already on the paper. But yes you can talk about why you think some strength of you will be helpful to you in your career and how you acquired it?
Preparing your answer
No answer is complete in itself until you give a good structure to it. So, what can be a good format for a response to this question? The following details will help you in figuring that out:
1. Talk of anecdote or the potential point: if you have followed the steps mentioned under the ‘pre-requisites’ head, you would have gone through your resume and found out your potential point to talk about. Haven’t you? Well at the beginning of the answer, you should mention some anecdotes, situations, and the thing you are to talk about. You may begin like ‘i would like to mention that once….’ or some other states like that.
2. Why did you mention it? What made you talk about that? Why didn’t you speak about anything else? These types of questions need to be addressed further as a response to our main question.
3. Why you didn’t mention the thing on your resume? If the matter was important for you that you wanted to talk about it during the interview the why didn’t you mention that in your resume? Why you took the chance of depending on this question during the interview? For this part, you may go like ‘i believe this fact is something that can be discussed only when someone asks for it and isn’t suitable enough to be in the resume’.
4. Relate it with your job: all that you have spoken of must not be in isolation. That must somehow relate to your job or duty at the organization and how would you be helped by the fact you mentioned during the interview in your job?
The one thing and I would like to mention here and that you won’t find on my resume is about the time when I had to administer an emergency CPR training. It was the last month when I was at a lake. I was roaming in a leisure manner when caught the sight of a young girl who looked as if she was drowning in the lake. I have had a little training for the same thing when I used to be a swimmer back during my high school days. So, without any delay, I swam out, pulled her to the shore, and gave her the CPR. This can be a one-time event depicting that I would stay calm under stressful situations and focus more on doing things to solve problems rather than worrying over them.
well, there is everything that I had and I have mentioned here on my resume. But the one experience that I left out of my resume is about my time as a campus tour guide for my b-school. As a campus tour guide, I was supposed to lead groups of prospective students and also their families around our b-school campus. Along with telling them about all the activities and details of the campus, I also shared my experience as a student there. And although I was not asked to do it I prepared a short presentation of a collection of all the competitions, seminars, and other activities that happen in our b-school to make an impressive impact on students as well as their parents. I always like to do things in the best possible manner. I knew that presentation will be beneficial for our school and so I did even if that was not under my duty.
I chose one thing to not state in my resume that I am a volunteer at two non-government organizations. Out of those two one works for the education of poor children and the second one works for stray and wounded animals. I have been associated with both the organizations for the past 5 years i.e. When I started my graduation. I am not associated with them for any purpose other than the ‘feel of giving’ that I have. I believe that society, almighty has given me more than I need. So, I like to distribute whatever extra I have. I love working as a teacher for poor children and helping in curing the wounded animals. I think I would be the first one to jump on any social cause volunteering project that our organization will come across ever.
there is not an official document or appreciation letter handed over to me to give weightage to one of my experience at my previous job that I will share now. But I feel like talking about that during this interview. During my previous job, I was appointed as an office manager. On the course of my duty, I figured out that the company was spending lakhs of money every year on the office supplies that were used by none. After this realization, I went through previous orders of my company to find out the ‘least used products’ to cut the useless cost to my company. And this worked our cost was reduced by 5 % during the next year. I am very committed to the organization I work for, I like watching out ways through which my company can be benefitted.
I have not mentioned my association with animal care hospital in my resume. The reason that why I have not mentioned this is because I did not think that it would be a good idea to do so as the job nowhere relates to taking care of animals. However, if people see differently, my association with animal care hospitals can be related to my dedication to working for the needy for over 6 years. This was not part of any duty I hold but derive to help others pulled me into this area. I always wanted to do my bit to save humanity and I believe that this is the way out.
my resume doesn’t directly mention the experience that I will now share with you but it has a hind to that experience. As my resume says that my sales team during my previous job exceeded its annual goal by 15%, I would share an incident related to that. That success was not any stroke of luck rather one of the reasons for that success was a different strategy that I used here. We chose to reach out on more sales calls with the staff to help close deals with major clients. The potential for this strategy was unknown earlier but in the end, it turned out to be a success.
the one thing in my resume that catches sight of many people is my sales record and so, I would talk about that. I would like to say that I attribute this sales record to the level of competition I had to face and also to my competitive nature that has made me stand different from rest others many times. I always look for new challenges and new ways to get through those challenges. That is a big reason for me to choose this field as my career path. Sales and marketing, I believe, are the most competitive in the fields and I like meeting new challenges now and then. Last year, I competed in my first triathlon and I’ve been hooked ever since. In my free time, you can usually find me training. I also value the peace and focus that I’ve gained through my efforts to continuously improve.
as you will run through my resume you will find that I was not so active student during my school days but the later years of my education that is my college days have many of my achievements. This is no coincidence but a result of a change in my perspective. As a school student, I was good at academics and I used to believe that I can only focus on one thing. But during my college days, I realized that I can be good at many things at the same time. I can focus on my studies, be part of societies in the college, and can participate in competitions as well. I may and may not win but the learning is priceless. And this realization helped me to be an ‘all-rounder’ student during my college days.
I don’t know whether this in any way relates to my job or not but I would like to tell you that I am a keen collector of currencies of different countries. I have been collecting them since I was nine years old and since then, I have collected currencies of many countries ranging from the united states of America to Russia, from China to the united kingdom and many more. I have not mentioned this in my resume as my hobby because I don’t specifically run after collecting them but I like to keep the notes in my collection album as and when I receive them from someone. I have maintained a good collection of currencies in a well-protected manner and this is something I hold proud of.
An example of a bad answer
Well, I have mentioned everything that I have on my resume itself. I don’t think that I have missed anything because I gave due care in making it. Nor I think that I have something else to tell rather than all that is mentioned here. So, please ask me anything from my resume. I will surely answer to that.