Spending most of your time preparing your resume does not compensate for your lack of social skills. A company wants you to tell them why you’re the best qualified person for the position, not read about it. Your bio does not illustrate your value, you do. Plus, companies buy paper, they don’t hire it. They hire you.
Is your resume important? Absolutely. It is a quick way for employers to categorize people they believe have the potential to fulfill the vacancy.
“This young lady has a history of public speaking, that is a plus for what we’re looking for.” (They will still require evidence of this skill.)
“This man hasn’t worked in over five months, this makes me question his work ethic so we’ll cross him off the list.” (Even if this not true, the perception tells a different story and the company is not willing to waste their time.)
You definitely want to make sure you annotate accurate information that can tell your story, without you being present. Remember, this is just the introduction. You must be prepared to verbally convey the next couple of chapters of your story during the interview process. “Sir, let me tell you about the course I facilitated for thirty-five people.”
Your social skills are the number one selling point for you during the interview process. If you annotate something on your resume and you’re not prepared to talk about it, why did you annotate it? If an employer asks you, “I see you were employed at XYZ company for five months. Can you tell me why you decided to leave that company after a short period of time?”
This is not an opportunity for you to say, “They didn’t see my full potential and I just couldn’t work for a company that doesn’t show me respect.” When you reference negativity to justify leaving a former position, you are telling this company you will do the same thing if you’re not happy with the environment, there. This will usually eliminate any possibility of you being hired for the position.
You need to learn how to respond to all forms of questions. In the same scenario, this would be a better response, “I really enjoyed working for that company but I was presented with an opportunity I couldn’t refuse.” Even if you were not happy in the position, there’s no reason to introduce it into the conversation. Employers want to know you’re professional and capable of adapting to adversity. Why? Because they are focused on the future of the company. When you’re not able to adapt to adversity, you don’t grow. When you don’t grow, the company you work for does not grow, either.
“Bob, your resume referenced that you have facilitated several courses for the ABC company. Can you tell us about your experience as a facilitator and how you prepare yourself?” (This is an opportunity for you to sell yourself.)
“Yes, being a facilitator is a passion of mine. I have been doing it for ten years and I feel that I’m very good at it. I could have easily stopped learning how to be an effective facilitator after completing my training. However, I have continued to sharpen my skills by reading, listening to, and watching videos on how to become a better facilitator. I recognize that how I led a course in 2017 might not be the most productive way to lead the same course in 2018. Why? People change and in order for me to be effective, I have to change with them.”
“Regardless of how many times I’ve led a particular course, I always prepare my notes, video presentations, PowerPoint slides, and breakout sessions at least two to three weeks out so I have plenty of time to rehearse. Money is time, and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. If they are attending one of my courses, they deserve to get the best training possible.”
To some, this might be overselling yourself. Be honest though, would you rather undersell yourself? How is this company going to recognize your potential if you’re not telling them enough information? This example demonstrated you’re able to think outside of the box and you’re constantly adapting to change. This tells the interviewer, “I can adapt to whatever direction this company is going.”
It is also very important for you to make eye contact with the person asking you questions. Eye contact helps convey authenticity. If you’re not able to look at your potential employer, how can this company trust you’ll be able to look at its customers? Plus, looking away demonstrates self doubt and possible deception. Employers that are skilled in non-verbal cues will easily pick up on this.
Leaning back in your chair – “I want out of this interview as fast as possible.”
Shifting your feet toward the exit – Again, “I want out of this room.”
Covering your mouth when you speak – “I’m not sure about my answer or I’m probably lying to you about my previous work history.”
Rubbing the back of your neck – “I’m uncomfortable with this question or topic.”
Crossing your arms across your chest – “I am guarding myself because I’m uncomfortable with my environment, I’m being deceitful, or I am arrogant and you’re wasting my time with these particular questions.”
Bottom line: Companies are looking for people that can produce results. Annotating your qualifications in a Microsoft Word document is only a small percentage of you landing a job. Double-down on your social skills and rehearse as much as possible. I can’t even count how many times people have told me, “I’m not good at speaking in front of people. I get too nervous and don’t know what to do.”
My response, “Do you actually get out and try it?”
“No, I’m not good at it.”
“That’s why you’re not good at it.”
People forget that nothing beats experience. You can read all day about how to do something but until you apply what you’ve learned via action, you’ll never be good at it. Steve Jobs was terrible at public speaking in his earlier years. But people forget about that because they just remember how skilled he was before he passed away. He could have landed any job he wanted based on his social skills. It takes patience and consistent action.