I recently decided to respond to a few recruiters about some work opportunities. I hate job hunting but they have a saying, “the best time to look for a job is when you already have one.” Surprisingly, I’ve almost always gotten offers or serious interest and it had me wondering about the reason for my success. I mean, some people look for work for months and aren’t able to get a single bite. I’m out here getting interest from recruiters left and right! Without even looking! So which is more important, the resume or the interview? What is the most contributing factor that’s helping me get noticed and picked up by employers?
It has taken me years to build a good resume. What makes a good resume? One that shows that all your experience for the past 5+ years is related and not broken up or mismatched. You can see the professional growth on the resume. I’ve literally taken jobs that were a step back in money and title because the company hiring had such an amazing reputation in the industry and I knew it would look good on my resume.
I’ve always opted for a resume that was simple, clean and ONLY one page. If someone has to flip the page to see the rest of your experience, then it’s too long. CVs tend to be longer but, honestly, does anyone use a CV anymore? Generally, recruiters spend less than 10 seconds scanning a resume, so making it longer than one page seems ridiculous.
The role of the resume is to get your foot in the door so you can get to the next step, so having a solid resume can open a ton of work opportunities.
I think the key for me was to only take work that was related to my field, look ahead at what other more successful people in my industry did (Thanks LinkedIn!), and try to copy that. As a result, my resume became more niche, to the point where I don’t really need to look for work, the work finds me.
Check out my other post on how to structure a Resume.
Interviewing also took me years to get good at and, to be honest, it hasn’t been something I’ve really perfected yet. I always got the feeling that US employers generally worship the “extrovert” and that specific type of personality that can get people up off their feet and excited.
Since I’m more of an introvert, most of my interviews have been good at best but not exceptional.
At the very least, I’m no longer the nervous nelly I once was during interviews. I think that has more to do with my experience level. Once you reach a certain level of experience, you sort of lose that uncertainty and voice in your head that asks, “Am I really qualified for this position?”
Things that I’ve definitely improved on are:
This has been key to capitalizing on work opportunities. I’ve noticed that I’ve no longer looked at the job I was interviewing for as something that I “needed” to validate me or take me to the next level. Now I’m able to come to the interview table and really ask hard questions like, “WHY is this position available now?” Or “What’s the company culture like?” I can take a stance where it’s almost like the company has to woo me in order to get me to move. No more groveling for the job with multiple thank you emails, no more hoping and praying for the job, none of that sh*t.
Answering BS Questions
We all know what BS questions the interviewer usually asks. “If you were any animal what would you be and why?” “Tell me about a time you were challenged at work.” “Tell me about a time you made a mistake at work.” Those are the types of questions that come at the most random time and, at which point, you have to parrot an answer that the interviewer can agree with. Becoming skilled at these can be challenging. Especially if you’re nervous and not great at thinking on your feet.
For me, I just try to say what the person wants to hear while also tying it to why I should have the job. And ALWAYs spin it positively.
Not Caring About The Outcome
Like I mentioned, “the best time to look for a job is when you already have one.” Having a job already and not moving without another one lined up has helped me TREMENDOUSLY. It helps me to not care and just carry on with the interview like I’m the prize. It’s allowed me to be picky about what work opportunities I’m willing to take.
I’ve seen people quit their jobs out of anger and then regret it because it’s only a matter of time before you run through your savings and then absolutely NEED a job, any job at any rate.
Side note: no matter how good you feel your interview went, NEVER quit your job until you’ve accepted their offer.
Overall having solid interview skills are important if you actually want to LAND the job.
So which is more important, resume or interview?
If I had to put my finger on it, I would say I think solid resumes are the most important to the job search. At the end of the day, the quality of your resume, your experience and the aesthetics of your resume are 100% in your control, an interview is not.
Resumes are also the way to get your foot in the door. Before the interview, there’s a recruiter picking out applicants from a pile of resumes. Only the most stellar resumes are able to proceed to the interview phase.
Not to say that interviews can’t be important, you can walk in with a semi-good resume and just blow the hiring manager out of the water by having an awesome personality and great interview skills.
Still, I find the the interview process to be pretty chaotic and arbitrary. Sometimes, companies aren’t even looking to hire but use the interview process to shop their competitors and get their employees to give off confidential information in the hopes of getting a job. Sometimes, you just can’t vibe with the interviewer. Interviewers can be rude, standoffish or downright inappropriate.
So even though you can’t always master every single interview, the right resume can almost always open the door to work opportunities that are the right fit.
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