Tell me about yourself

Walk me through your resume – Tough Sales Interview Question

During sales or any other type of interview, for the freshers or those who are early in their career, interviewers tend to start the interview by saying, “Walk me through your resume”. Almost all of us have answered this question during our interviews. It seems to be such a simple and straightforward question. Most of us are relaxed when we handle it. So the real question here is – Why is this a tough sales interview question?

The first few minutes with a candidate, are good enough for the interviewer to make up their mind about hiring him or her. This initial interaction decides how long or deep the interviewer will explore a particular candidate. It is exactly during this initial phase of an interview, that a candidate faces this question. Most candidates take this question casually. Some of them may even get a bit overwhelmed with thoughts about so many things that they may need to cover. And suddenly, this simple question has become a tough nut to crack!

Why do interviewers ask you “Walk me through your resume”

Let us carefully think, when did this question arise during an interview? It is simple – At the start. So, then why is this interview question may be used at the start of any interview generally?

Now you may be wondering why the interviewer is putting forward such a question despite the fact that they already have access to your resume. So what do they really want to know? Let’s understand!

Having you give a detailed summary of your resume is a way for employers to assess, whether you have the right qualifications for the position they are offering.

They’re looking at this question to learn about your education and work history that may be relevant to the job position. They also want to get a feel of your ability to communicate and express how that aligns with the position.

Interviewers are generally flooded with resumes. So they generally have next to no time to properly understand read and understand any resume. That said resumes cannot effectively cover your educational and work experiences.

Your answer gives the interviewer an opportunity to connect the dots between what you and your resume convey about you and your experience!

This helps them form a comprehensive story of the candidate who is considered for the job. Interviewers want to deeply understand your skills and experiences that are just right for the position they are recruiting for. Even if an interviewer reads your resume with complete concentration, it is next to impossible for them to understand your personality and real-life experiences during your educational and work stints.  

What you go over in your answer is important for them to understand your experience. The experiences you focus on, help them understand your skills. And how you express yourself helps them understand your personality.

How to answer this tough sales interview question?

Remember this – When you’re answering this question, your goal is to showcase your desire and alignment for the job you have applied.

Here is the Framework for your answer to “Walk me through your resume”

1. Kick off with your educational background if you’re a recent graduate.

2. Briefly cover the course details and segue into how that led you to a professional career.

3. Explain your professional history, describe how you entered the field in particular.

4. Then talk chronologically about your career,  mention accomplishments that make you eligible for the position.

5. Cover key qualifications and skills, and relevant projects you’ve worked on.

6. Finish the response by stating your career goals.

Tips that will help you deliver your answer effectively

1. Tailor Your Answer

Remember this, the interviewers are not interested in knowing everything on your resume. They have limited time per candidate. Their main interest is to find your alignment for the job position quickly. So, it’s better to avoid too much detailed explanation of your entire work history.

You can just highlight the parts that are related to the job or company you’re applying for. This question is an opportunity for you to share your career story and showcase the value you can bring to a company. So your answer should focus on the relevant aspects of your past experiences.

2. Keep It Quick

“Walk me through your resume” is often the first or one of the first questions in an interview. It is a kind of icebreaker between the interviewer and the applicant. So you want to make sure your answer is concise, giving your interviewer the basis for considering for the next round of questions.

3. Be Truthful

It is found that 80% of the candidates lie on their resumes!

Regardless of what you have on your plate, it is always advisable to share the real information and not make false promises just for the sake of getting the position. You’ll have to talk about your past, present, and future, and connect them with the requirements of the position. 

Mention roles from your past and explain how they contributed to your qualifications for this role. Talk about your current role and highlight key accomplishments from this job in a way that makes it clear how they’re relevant to the job you’re interviewing for.

4. Acknowledge Gaps in Your Resume

If you have a significant gap between two jobs or between your education and the first job in your resume, it can be a concern for the interviewer. So you should talk about it in your response. 

Challenging life situations may have derailed you during your educational or work stints. You may have missed a few years in between. Talk about what happened during those gaps on your resume. Transparency is good and helps the interviewer consider why you’re the right person for the job.

5. Practice in front of the mirror

You want to know how others feel about you when you talk about your work and education. You want to understand how you present yourself with your language and body movements.

Practicing your answer in front of a mirror will give you confidence and understanding of these important things.

If you don’t practice, most of us tend to ramble and it’s not a great first impression.

Important Tips while ‘Talking About your Resume’

Before you go for the interview, here are a few tips and ideas that can help you speak about your resume in an impressive manner.

1. Always have your answer well prepared

The question is a common opener. So if you have to have a well-thought-out answer ready, you can avoid the rush of thinking on the feet. Generally in the initial few moments of the interview, you are also in the process of getting your flow. So such preparedness helps in many ways. You want to sound positive and enthusiastic.

2. Avoid Negativity in your answer

Your educational and work history can be disappointing in some phases. It could be flawed in several ways. But don’t let that negativity play on your mind. It is easy for the interviewer to sense it.

You want to be as optimistic as possible. Speak more about what is good, and try to portray a positive picture. People will definitely want to hire you when they see how well you can handle questions like these.

3. Try to be as clear and concise as possible

Brevity shows clarity. Brevity saves time for everyone. Brevity shows what is important for you. And brevity shows your maturity!

Clarity, sense of time, and maturity are extremely attractive qualities in the professional world. If you have managed your answer to be clear and concise in simple language, you have already created a serious advantage for yourself!

4. Focus on explaining your decisions and motivations

The interviewer wants to know how you think. He wants to know what motivates you and how you take your decisions. This is important for any type of role in any company.

If you don’t focus on how you do these things in your life and work, your resume becomes mere data pointers without any heart in it. Show how strategic and thoughtful you are when it comes to managing your career the right way.

If you have recently finished college and chosen a different job, talk about how you decided to make the move. If you are switching your career, then talk about the common threads among all the jobs and how all the experiences will help you to do the switch.

5. Discuss your answer with your friends or professional connections

People who are professionals and have attended several interviews can help you with their unique insights. They can contribute many ideas on answering such questions in the interviews. You may find ways of aligning yourself with the position you have applied for, that did not come to your mind before.

Key Mistakes to avoid while handling this interview question

1. Don’t provide your interviewer with too much unnecessary or irrelevant information. This will make your look unfocused and may create unnecessary doubts in the interviewer’s mind.

2. Avoid being so succinct or concise that you miss the important details which are relevant for the job you have applied for. This can make you look casual or careless.

3. Avoid being too enthusiastic or being overconfident during your response. This is a big turn-off to the interviewers.

Sample answer to help you get initial ideas

1. “I graduated from University in March 2021 and have been focused on my job search since then. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in accounting and Finance and also completed a three-month internship with McKinsey. I was involved in many extracurricular activities like college magazines, festivals, and sports. This has given me skills related to data analytics and handling people, which I want to apply in my first stint. I think the ideal next step in my career is to obtain a full-time position with a consulting firm like yours.”

2. “I graduated from high school five years ago and immediately took an inside sales position. My focus was to learn business development. In the second year, I was promoted to the role of Senior Sales Associate where I was consistently meeting my sales targets of 100,000 USD per year. Now I am searching for a new B2B inside sales position where I can continue to use my skills to win larger customers and achieve higher sales targets. I also learned to train the new recruits. Your position looked interesting based on the job description, and I love the fact that I’d have the opportunity to train new team members here.”

In conclusion, this article will be instrumental for you to win the first stage of any interview especially during the initial years of your career.

The following articles can help you with some relevant interview questions.

1. What are your career goals?

2. What do you know about our company?

3. What interests you the most in this sales position?

4. Why are you the best person for this job?

5. Why should we hire you?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top