Tell Me More About This Item on Your Resume…

tell me more about this resume bullet item

When preparing
for an interview it can be extremely helpful to anticipate the
questions you are likely to receive and to prepare your responses to
those questions, so you have the opportunity to show yourself in the
best light possible. For most jobs, there are certain common
questions that you could expect to be asked and we’ve covered
some of these previously.

One line of
questioning that, perhaps surprisingly, often catches job seekers off
guard relates to their resume and goes something like this: “I see
on your resume that you…could you tell me more about that?” or “You have some interesting volunteer activities on your resume;
could you tell me more about them?” Basically, the interviewer is
looking at your resume (the one that you wrote, remember?) and
picking out individual elements to ask you for more detail on.

The problem?
Maybe you wrote your resume, or emailed it in, some time ago and your
memory is a little fuzzy. Unfortunately, it shouldn’t be. When
you’re on site for an interview you need to be sharp and having a
very keenly honed sense of what you’ve said about yourself in your
resume is critical.

A Filing
System to Jog Your Memory

Now, if as is
often recommended as a best practice, you’ve hand-crafted
individual resumes when applying to individual jobs, keeping track of
all of the many variations of resumes you may have floating out there
can be challenging. Here’s a tip. Set up a document folder titled “Resumes” and in it save a copy of each resume you submit titled
with the name of the company and position: “XYZ Company—Senior
Manager,” “ABC Company—Sales and Development Specialist.”
Then, when one of these companies contacts you for an interview you
can quickly access the resume you sent and brush up on all of the
elements it contains.

Just the
(Relevant) Facts

You likely have a
long list of activities, interests, experiences and educational and
training events that you could include in your resume, but you
should take steps to ensure that you select the most pertinent for
the job you’ve applied to so that you can concisely put your best
foot forward.

But don’t just
provide a bulleted list. Include specific examples—quantitative
examples whenever possible—so that you can illustrate results that
you’ve achieved. These are likely to be the areas of interest
picked up on by job interviewers, allowing you to expand on the
experience, and results, during your interview.

Translate
Military Experience to Corporate Relevance

You likely have
some important experiences from your military career to highlight on
your resume, and in your job interview, but you’ll want to make
sure you’re able to translate military experience into relatable
information about how that experience will benefit you—and your
potential employer—in the job you’re applying for. So, when an
interviewer says, “Tell me about (insert military experience)…”
you’ll be able to translate that experience into language that
resonates with the interviewer.

In a Sodexo
blog post
, employee and former member of the Army, Chris Button,
offers some advice: “Think about things you did, and convert it
into civilian terms. Instead of saying, ‘I was a demolitions expert
handling C-4,’ try something like, ‘I was responsible for safely
and effectively handling and employing high explosives which required
a high attention to detail, a delicate touch, and some solid
mathematical problem-solving skills.'” Some additional examples
from Button:

  • “I led a
    12-person team that coordinated efforts with others to achieve a
    goal.”
  • “I
    improved our efficiency rating by 23% in this area”
  • “We
    achieved a 100% success rate on the firing line.”

Your goal with
all of your responses is to clearly convey how every element of your
resume can be translated into a potential benefit that you can offer
this company.

Here are some
additional tips:

  • Review
    your resume before going to the interview to ensure that you’re as
    sharp as possible and intimately familiar with everything you’ve
    included. Practice responding to the question of “tell me more
    about…” for each item on your resume so that you have examples
    firmly in mind.
  • Bring a
    hard copy of your resume with you to the job interview and highlight
    any specific points that you’d like to highlight. This will allow
    you to refer to the resume when you’re asked those “tell me
    more…” questions and will be a good memory job at the
    point in the interview when the interviewer says: “Is there
    anything else you would like us to know?”
  • Include
    items on your resume that will serve as potential answers or points
    of reference to the commonly
    asked questions
    you’ve anticipated. Then, when asked, you can
    refer to your resume: “That’s a great question! In fact, while
    in my position at ABC Company, that’s exactly…” or “An
    important aspect of my military career was…on my resume you’ll
    see…”

It might seem a
bit odd that we’re recommended that you “study your resume”
prior to every job interview, but that’s precisely what you should
do. Taking the time to review—and rehearse—will help to ensure
that you can answer quickly, and with relevant detail, when an
interviewer says: “Tell me about this item on your resume…”

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By Sean