How to Present a Resume at an Important Job Interview

FT Contributor  | 

A resume is a document that highlights your personal and professional experiences, including your education and job history. A carefully curated resume will give a potential employer the overview they need to make a decision about your candidacy.

Your resume is your first contact with an employer. Once you have crafted the perfect resume with action verbs and passed it along to a hiring manager, they will review it. If they like what they see, the hiring manager will invite you in for an in-person interview to further assess your skills.

Despite already having submitted your resume to the employer, it’s important to bring copies of your resume with you to your interview. There are a number of reasons for doing this. For starters, it makes you look prepared. Secondly, you could be interviewing with a panel of people at the company and the hiring manager may not have had time to print copies.

If you are unsure about when to present your resume or the best way to do so, this guide will help. Whether you’re formatting your resume while looking for your first job or creating a resume in the pursuit of a new career, these resume presentation tips will help you make a favorable impression on a potential employer.

Resume Presentation

Your resume should be a clean, clear, and concise summary of your relevant experiences. It should be free of spelling and grammatical errors and use professional language to relay your experience and skills, including soft skills — those that can translate into any role — and hard skills — the more technical skills that require training or education.

The person interviewing you may request that you bring a resume with you to your interview, but you should always have them on hand regardless. When you sit down for your interview, ask if anyone needs a copy of your resume to review. Ensure you have at least 10 copies ready to hand out to anyone sitting in on your interview.

Resume Format

The format of your resume is nearly as important as the information contained in it. Ensure that your resume is formatted properly before sending it off to a potential employer or printing off copies to bring to your interview.

Use a font between 10 and 12 point that is legible. Times New Roman is commonly used, but any legible font, including Arial, is typically acceptable to use on a resume. Leave one-inch margins on each side of your resume, as this is the standard formatting the employer will expect to see.

All of your contact information should be front and center. Place your name, address, telephone number, and email at the top of the page. Be sure to use a professional email address, not the one that you would use with friends and family. All of your contact information should be separate from everything else on your resume so it’s easy to see and therefore easy for the employer to connect with you. You might bold this information or center it at the top of the page to make it easier to spot.

When it comes to formatting your skills and experience, it’s important to make your resume as skimmable as possible. Highlight your experience in a bulleted list and keep your descriptions as short and concise as possible.

Finally, be sure to print your resume on high-quality paper. Remember, the employer is most likely going to go through hundreds of resumes. Ensuring that yours is formatted properly will help you stand out from the crowd.

Resume Holder

A portfolio gives you a clean and polished appearance when you show up for an interview. This is a folder that protects your resume, business cards, and cover letter from getting creased or damaged on your way to the interview, allowing you to appear professional.

Your portfolio can hold a wealth of other information, too. From writing samples to graphic design work, keep copies of the information that is relevant to the position you applied for so that you have material ready to present to the hiring manager or anyone else you might be interviewing with.

How to Walk Someone Through Your Resume

If you’re using a reverse chronological format, your resume should list your relevant experience in order, from most to least recent. When you’re going over your resume in an interview, present the information in a way that prioritizes your most recent job experience.

Take this time to elaborate on your past experiences, remembering that your resume is only a highlight reel. The interviewer will expect you to go into more detail about your prior job responsibilities, waiting for you to tell them more than what you’ve already shared on your resume.

During the interview, you should also discuss your skillset. Highlight the skills you have that will be relevant to the role you are interviewing for. Pay attention to the skills the recruiter or hiring manager addresses, then relate them back to experiences or skills you possess. Make sure to be detailed when discussing relevant situations such as these, as this will help you stand out and appear like the most qualified candidate.

While you should ask questions during your interview about the position you applied for, it’s also important to ask the recruiter or hiring manager if they have any questions during your interview regarding your educational background or previous work experience. If they do, the interview is your chance to clear those questions or issues up, further demonstrating your value to the interviewer.

Remember these tips when preparing for your next job interview. Having copies of your professional resume on hand will make you appear confident and ready to take on anything. Remain calm during your interview and be mindful that you’re not rushing the recruiter through your resume. All of this will help you to get one step closer to a new job.


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This post was updated January 14, 2020. It was originally published January 14, 2020.