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Resumes Don’t Win Job Offers, Only Interviews Do

Many people put too much weight on the resume. Simply put, the resume's purpose is to get your phone to ring. It’s not going to win you a position before you get in the door. Sure, you can gain a competitive advantage with a well-written resume, since the interviewer will have preconceived notions of who you are and what you can bring to the table. However, the interviewer will not be smitten enough to hire you based on the resume alone. To win an interviewer over, you will have to do well during the interview.

This is because an employer cannot possibly identify all she needs to know just by reading your resume. He will need to ask clarifying questions. Just as important, he will assess your personality to determine compatibility.

On the flipside, you will want to conduct your own due diligence by actively participating during the interview. In other words, you should ask questions because you can’t learn everything you need to know about the hiring organization by only reading the classifieds.

As you can see, neither you nor the interviewer can make a definitive decision solely based on a piece of paper. Keep that in mind when you are tempted to respond to a question with, “You can find the answer on my resume.” This response is not only rude, but if you feel that you are repeating information from the resume, that means you are not providing the interviewer with well-rounded responses. The resume provides a snippet of your experience. The interview is an opportunity for you to expand on your experience. It is not a time to provide a play-by-play repeat of the resume.

That said, you could use your resume to your advantage by referring to it and expanding on the information. For example, let’s say the interviewer asks, “Name an accomplishment you are most proud of.” You can respond by saying something like, “In the introduction of my resume, you will note that I included that I am a sought-after change agent who paves the way for smooth-running, lucrative retail organizations. An example of this is the time I reversed the department’s prior history of low efficiency and productivity by shifting district manager mindset from a reactionary ‘put out fires’ outlook to a proactive approach. This included championing change-management solutions that focused on setting benchmarks and measuring results to achieve high performance levels.” By elaborating on the statement during the interview, you are providing context and concrete details that will interest the interviewer.

The resume and the interview work as a team. You need the resume to get in the door, and you need the interview to land a job offer. So give each the time and effort it deserves.

- Linda Matias

Certified in all three areas of the job search - Certified Interview Coach (CIC), Job & Career Transition Coach (JCTC), and Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW) - Linda Matias is qualified to assist you in your career transition, whether it be a complete career makeover, interview preparation, or resume assistance. Linda is the former president of the National Resume Writers' Association who is the author of two books: 201 Knockout Answers to Tough Interview Questions and How to Say It: Job Interviews. Both books can be found at or your local bookstore. You can contact Linda Matias at or visit her website for additional career advice and to view resume samples.