How Writing Your Own Resume Helps You Interview Better

Photo by Keren Levand on Unsplash

When I got into the resume business this past summer, I noticed that a lot of resume writing companies do more harm than good for their client’s job search. In order to justify charging hundreds of dollars on a one-page document, these companies do all of the work for you. They will literally write your entire resume for you based off of limited information you provide them. In my opinion, this is one of the worst ways to prepare for a job search.

I believe there is tremendous value in writing your resume yourself and having peers and mentors edit for you after it’s been written. Why? When you write a resume, you are forced to look back and reflect on your experiences. What did you do, why did you do it, what did you accomplish etc… When you practice this kind of self-assessment, you come out with a better understanding of who you are, what you care about, and where you can add value. That depth of knowledge simply won’t be achieved by paying someone else to write your resume for you.

Preparation for Interviews

When you write your own resume, whether you realize it or not, you are preparing for your interviews. Yes, a resume is a condensed version of your experiences and stories, but it helps you remember what you did in detail, and determine what your most significant contributions were to whatever organization. It is from your resume that you will draw out stories to tell.

When I prepared for behavioural job interviews, I would start by looking at my resume. This is in fact the document that my interviewer would be referencing after all. I would take the list of experiences from my resume and jot down notes on stories I could tell about each of those experiences. Then, I would consider what questions I could be asked in a behavioural interview. For the most part, these types of questions can be predicted.

Why do you want to work here?

Tell me about a time you led a team…

Tell me about a time you dealt with a conflict…

Tell me about a time you improved the efficiency of a process…

And so on.

Once I created a list of stories and a list of questions, I could then start figuring out which story would make the best answer to each question. From there, I would flesh out the stories a bit more in order to remember the details of what happened. What makes interview prep so much easier is if you have already done the work on your resume. If you have already considered the key skills the company is looking for, then chances are you have already chosen projects and experiences on your resume that reflect those. So when it comes time for the interview, you simply need to take your resume and expand upon it.

Writing your own resume makes your recruitment process a lot easier because it forces you to reflect and understand what you have done in your professional life. That being said, don’t forget the value in having another set of eyes read and critique your resume before submitting it for a job. Once you have a first draft, make sure to show it to your peers and mentors to continue to improve your writing and communication.

For more resume tips, check out my free resources at: birchwoodresumes.ca/resources.

Founder & Resume Consultant @ birchwoodresumes.ca. Based in Toronto, Canada.

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