You have earned an interview and you are now looking forward to selling your service (you) in-person to a prospective buyer (employer). Congratulations, that is a nice job. Your work though is only half done, so be happy, but do not get lackadaisical at this point. You have to prepare for your business meeting. You need to make sure that the resume you take and leave behind after your meeting is going to help you get the sale (job). I have seen thousands of resumes that people hand delivered to HR and hiring managers during interviews and they actually hurt their cause instead of helping it.
Well, my resume is good enough, you might be thinking. Really? How do you know? Did your family say it was good? A buddy? A co-worker? I believe everyone who sends a resume to a company believes that it is good, or they wouldn't send it. The problem is that it is just not the case most of time. Of the tens of thousands of resumes we have seen as headhunters and hiring managers, it is truly a rare day when a spectacular one appears. It is not a slam on anyone to say this. It is just the case that like many things, it is hard to remain completely objective when judging yourself and what you do.
Everyone knows that the quality of the resume you submit to a prospective employer is key to generating some initial interest. What people underestimate is that the resume you take to your meeting, and that gets left behind, is critical as well. At all stages of the job seeking process everything counts. A resume that you take to an employer needs to a piece of art.
A resume is a sales brochure and you are going into a sales meeting. It can help you, or it can hurt you. For example, think about an IBM sales professional heading into an executive sales meeting with material that isn't world class. First off, they just wouldn't do it, and the salesperson would not have created it on their own. Companies have entire marketing departments that devote a significant amount of time to producing and improving sales collateral. Or, if a company doesn't have a marketing department they will often outsource this vital function.
When you first show up to an interview, what do you do? You hand someone your resume. Do you usually hand out only one? Sometimes, but there may be five or more people that you meet during an interview. What happens after you hand it to them? They stare at it, and then they start asking questions, and they stare at it some more. Do you think you're influencing this person with what you have handed them, and with what they are continually staring at? You bet you are. You just need to make sure you are influencing them in the right way. If they are the type to set it aside, don't allow it. Use it as a sales tool like a professional sales person would do. Refer to it. Point things out. Use it.
Now the interview / sales meeting is done. What usually does not happen during an initial sales call with a prospective customer? Most do not get the order/job on the first visit. It happens, but the final commitment to hire someone doesn't usually get solidified on the spot. So what are your options? You need to leave your best piece of sales literature you can so when the the customer is reviewing all of the other candidates, you are the one that stands out. Customers serious about filling an order and making a good decision, review resumes again to help them make the right decision.
Reprinted by Permission: ProfessionalRecruiter.org