We all like to think of ourselves as special individuals, unique in our own way. And when it comes to our resumes, we often focus on the experiences and skills that make us stand out from the crowd. Interviewers however want to go much beyond that to understand you.
What do you say when an interviewer asks you to tell them something about yourself that is not written in your resume? Do you have a rehearsed answer for it? Or do you find yourself stumbling with your words, trying to show something interesting?
As a fresher, you will probably struggle to come up with something exciting and unique about yourself. It will be a tough balancing act of selling yourself without sounding conceited or arrogant.
Here is an interesting thing.
59% of employees claim that their skills are self-taught. It is these things that you learned by yourself, the skills that you built by yourself, and your experiences that may be unique in their own way, that are of interest to others, especially interviewers!
In this blog post, we will share some tips on how to talk about yourself that make people want to learn more about you.
Let us understand why interviewers ask this question first. Then explore how to answer it skillfully. Finally, you will find a few useful answers that give you a starting point and common mistakes that you can avoid.
Similar Questions that interviewers ask
- What should I know that’s not on your resume?
- Tell me about something not on your resume
- What should I know that’s not on your resume
- Tell me about yourself which is not in your resume
- Tell me something which is not mentioned in your resume
- Tell me something about yourself which is not included in your resume
- Tell me about yourself.
- Describe yourself.
- What makes you unique?
Why do interviewers ask, “Tell Me Something Not on Your Resume”
Interviewers are keen to know about the real you. They know that resumes generally are to present you in best possible way. However, they may hide many critical insights about you. So they want to probe more. They want to dig deeper.
5 Reasons why interviewers want to know What is NOT on Resume
1. To get a sense of what you “really” are
Interviewers often ask this question to get a sense of your personality. Your resume is generally prepared to show the best of you. But it fails to bring out the real you. In many ways, it is a doctored presentation of you.
So, interviews prod you to go beyond your resume.
They may also ask this question to get a sense of your values. They want to explore what makes you tick! They want to explore things close to your heart.
They want to know what you are proud of. They may get to know about any unusual hobbies or interests you have.
Pretty much anything and everything that you can say in response to this question may reveal the biggest things about you!
This is what the interviewers are keen to learn about – The Real You!
[ To know yourself better and talk about it smartly – 200+ Examples of Strengths and Weaknesses for Interviews ]
2. To learn about your motivations for wanting the job
Interviewers are trying to understand why you’re interested in the position. Especially the reasons that may not be naturally apparent.
They want to know what you would bring to the table if hired. Sometimes, people have ulterior motives for wanting a job, which may not initially show up (like being closer to home or earning a higher salary).
This can be important information while hiring them.
You may be passionate about the company’s mission. Or you like the idea of developing new skills. The reasons can vary. Whatever your reasons, be honest about them and try to give examples of how your motivations would benefit the company if you were hired.
3. To see how well you can think on your feet
Interviewers ask questions to assess how you think on your feet. They want to know how you will react under pressure and handle unexpected situations.
The best way to answer this question is to stay calm and take your time. Collect your thoughts before answering, and make sure you are clear on what the interviewer is asking. Then, give a thoughtful response that demonstrates your understanding of what the interviewer may be looking for.
4. To gain insights that aren’t covered on your resume
Even if your resume can contain everything from your bio-data to your accomplishments, strengths, and even flaws, there are still a few things the interviewer needs to know. There may be some important skills that the employers are actively looking for, but your resume has not covered them!
How do you express the things that truly matter to you in your resume? What are your core interests? How can the interviewer understand what makes you tick? How can they get a feel of what you are going through in the current phase of life?
Generally, what you do and what you have done is covered in the resume.
However, how you do something and why you do what you do matters a lot more to the interviewer. This generally is never covered in your resume.
These things cannot be covered in your CV but can be perceived in conversation through subtle cues that we tend to give away. It is not just skills but cultural fitness also matters to the company.
5. To assess whether you would be a good fit for the company
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? … What are your career aspirations? … These are some of the most common interview questions to judge your fitness and keenness for the job. They give the interviewer a sense of where you see yourself in the future and whether or not you are a good fit for the company with your skills.
However, questions about what is not on your resume can reveal things that can be equally useful to understanding your fitness for the given role.
For example, you may about when you had to deal with a difficult customer or coworker. This may not be covered in your resume. By talking about a challenging situation, the interviewer can see how you reacted and how you might handle similar situations in the future. The interviewer can also get a sense of your problem-solving skills and your ability to stay calm under pressure.
Your CV states the facts, yet the interviewer wants to hear about you as a person. This question can assist your interviewer in determining if you’re a suitable fit for the position and company.
How to prepare for “Tell me something That Is Not on Your Resume”
There are many ways to prepare for interview questions, but one of the best ways is to come up with a list of things, not on your resume. This can show the interviewer that you have other skills and experiences that may be relevant to the role.
9 ways to answer “Tell me something that is Not on your Resume“
- Think of skills or experiences that are not listed on your resume but relevant to the role you are interviewing for. For example, suppose you are interviewing for a job in marketing. In that case, you might mention that you have to experience training freshers in marketing or sales or experience working with various marketing software.
- Talk about a time when you had to overcome a challenge. This is a great way to show that you are resilient and can handle difficult situations.
- Stay relevant to the job you are interviewing for. When you think of things to mention, make sure they are relevant to the job. This will help the interviewer see that you have the skills and experience needed. Provide a superior response by directly connecting your talking points to how it benefits the firm. This technique might help you concentrate on the most relevant things and portray yourself as a solution to their employment needs.
- Talk about your values and passions. An interviewer is always looking to see if you will be a good fit for the company culture and values. So, it’s important to share your values and passions during the interview.
- You may have mentioned your strengths in resume. It can be a good idea to expand on them with examples that can elaborate and prove them.
- Think of your achievements and awards. It is a good idea to explain how you achieved them. You may want to explain what made you pursue them.
- Talk about the extra curricular or non profit work you may have done. Generally resumes do not cover them.
- It is a great idea to start a conversation around – Why you want this job. This is generally never articulated on the resume. So questions around what is not mentioned on your resume can be a great segway to direct the conversation towards your motivation to apply for the job.
- How about bringing humor into the conversation? It can be a good idea to share funny anecdotes about you. Humor breaks the ice. It creates a certain informality that can be good for you. Interviewers may feel that you can be coachable since you are showing a certain comfort to laugh at yourself. It exemplified how you can take feedback and criticism.
How to Answer “Tell Me Something That Is Not on Your Resume”
Here are 5 tips for answering this behavioral interview question:
1. Be prepared with a few stories or examples that are not on your resume
You will want to be prepared with a few stories or examples, not on your resume. This will show the interviewer that you are more than just your work history and that you have a personality.
You can talk about your hobbies, volunteer experiences, or even things that have happened to you in your personal life. We have already seen 9 ideas to prepare your answer in last section.
2. Be concise and make sure your stories are interesting and relevant
Interviews are all about making a good impression, and interesting stories will leave a lasting mark on the interviewer.
It’s also important to be concise because nobody wants to hear ramblings during an interview. Tell your story in an engaging and elevator-pitch level short way.
3. Stay away from discussing topics that are too personal or sensitive
This is very important advice. You want to portray yourself as a professional in an interview and put your best foot forward. Discussing personal or sensitive topics can make you appear unprofessional and even cost you the job.
Of course, some events or aspects of your life may be relevant to the job or company you’re interviewing for. If you’re comfortable discussing these things, then, by all means, do so. But if not, it’s best to steer clear of them altogether.
For example, discussing your income and financial situation. This is very personal and sensitive information, and it’s best to avoid discussing it.
4. Prepare yourself for possible questions about why the experience is not listed on your resume
Here is what interviewers may think or as after you have talked about anything not written in your resume.
Why didn’t you include it in your resume, if you felt like talking about it now? Why did you take the chance to depend on this question during the interview?
Or they may say, “What made you think of that now?”
You may respond to this question as follows: ‘I feel that this fact is something that can be discussed only if someone asks for it and isn’t suitable enough to be included in a CV.’
The follow-up questions totally depend on what you expose or mention in your response. It is a starting point for them to understand the facets of the “real you” that may never show up on your resume.
5. Have a positive attitude and be ready to engage in further conversation with the interviewer
It’s important to go into an interview with a positive attitude and be ready to engage in conversation. You’ll show the interviewer that you’re interested in the position and that you’re confident in your abilities. Plus, it’s always helpful to get to know the interviewer better and learn more about the company.
9 Sample Answers for speaking about What is not on your resume
You can use the following 9 answers to trigger your imagination. However, take them as simply a starting point for your own answer. It is important that you always provide an example after making your point.
- “I care about the people around me, and I have good interpersonal skills. I am always willing to help out, and I get along with everyone. I’m a team player, and I work well in groups.” (after this give an example .. )
- “I’m a detail-oriented person who always looks for ways to save my company money. I recently negotiated a more favorable contract with our vendor, which saved the company money in the long run. I’m also a fitness enthusiast and enjoy staying active.”
- “I am a marketing professional with experience in online communications and fundraising. I increased online donations by 100% in my previous role by creating and implementing a comprehensive social media strategy for an NGO client. My skills include content creation, digital marketing, and project management. I am also proficient in Spanish and have worked extensively with Hispanic audiences.”
- “In the past, I’ve increased website traffic by 10x in 6 months. I’m a big believer in data-driven decision-making, and I feel that using analytics to understand how people interact with your site is one of the most important aspects of online marketing.”
- “I’m a software engineer by profession, but I also love to tinker with game development in my free time. I’ve developed a few small games that are available for free online. I hope to turn my hobby into a full-time career eventually. In the meantime, I’m always looking for new ways to improve my skills and learn new programming languages.”
- “I’m an experienced business consultant who has won 4 high-paying contracts from major clients. I’m known for my strategic thinking and ability to see the big picture, which has helped me deliver results that my clients are happy with. In my free time, I like to travel and play sports.”
- “Although my resume may not reflect it, I am an excellent writer. I chose not to include my writing skills on my resume because the job is design-focused, and I didn’t want to take away from that. My writing skills are one of my strongest assets, and I’m confident that they would shine through in any situation.”
- “I’ve always been a very strong communicator, both written and verbally. I think this stems from my ability to empathize with others; I can see both sides of every issue and find common ground easily. This skill has served me well in personal relationships and work settings.”
- “I love sales and marketing because I get to be creative, work with a team, and directly see the results of my efforts. Plus, I’ve always been pretty good at it. My team exceeded its annual sales goals by 40% in my most recent role. But there’s more to me than just my professional achievements. On a personal level, I’m a foodie who loves to cook and entertain. I’m also an avid traveler (47 countries and counting) and enjoy doing anything that gets me outdoors – hiking, kayaking, etc.”
4 Tips to answer “ Tell me something about yourself that is not written in your resume”
- One great way to approach this question is to think of it as an opportunity to share your personal story. Talk about what led you to your current career, or share a meaningful experience that has shaped who you are today.
- Focus on your professional achievements and highlight key skills and experiences most relevant to your success in the job you have applied for.
- It’s also important to be authentic and genuine in your answer, so don’t be afraid to inject some personality.
- Make sure your answer is concise and tailored specifically for the job you’re applying for. Keep in mind the skills and qualities the employer is looking for, and highlight those that best align with the company values and needs. For example, you might want to mention a relevant skill or experience that isn’t listed on your resume but would be beneficial for the role you’re interviewing for.
5 Mistakes To Avoid while mentioning what is not on your resume
“Tell me about yourself that is not on your resume” may seem like a simple question, but it can be difficult to answer if you’re unsure what the interviewer is looking for. Here are five tips to help you avoid mistakes when answering this question:
- Don’t give a generic answer: The whole point of this question is to get to know YOU, so avoid giving the same old canned response that everyone else does. Talk about your unique experiences, motivations, and passions.
- Don’t recite your resume verbatim: The interviewer has already read your resume, so there’s no need to go through it line by line. It’s an opportunity for you to share highlights of your professional and personal life with the interviewer.
- Don’t get too personal: This is not the time to share your life story or intimate details about yourself. Stick to discussing your professional accomplishments and goals.
- Avoid bragging: Yes, you want to highlight your successes, but don’t do so in a way that comes across as arrogant or cocky. Be humble and honest about your achievements.
- Don’t give too much information at once: Space out your answer and take your time to explain each point.
The Bottom Line
In summary, interviewers ask this question because they want to know the “Real You”! They are keen to learn more about your motivations for wanting the job. Interviewers want to see how you cope with unexpected questions. And lastly, they want to gauge your honesty and ability to think on your feet.
The best way to answer this question is to be prepared with a few key points that you want to highlight about yourself that aren’t already included in your resume. Alternatively, you could share something personal about yourself to help the interviewer get to know you better.