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Bring Your Resume to the Interview

I just submitted my application with resume, do I still need to bring a copy of my resume?”

We recently completed a resume for Jennifer and not long after she was asked by an employer to come to a job interview. Jennifer asked us whether or not she should bring a copy of her new resume to the job interview. She doubted if this was necessary since she just submitted her application a few days ago. Whenever you are asked to go to a job interview you should always bring a portfolio. A portfolio should contain work samples, reference letters, a job reference list, and among other things your most updated resume.

As it turned out, when Jennifer showed up for her job interview it was a panel and believe it or not NONE of the panel members had a copy of her resume. They only had her completed job application form. Now let me preface this by saying that Jennifer was interviewing with a large city employer. It is hard to imagine that a city employer would show up to a job interview without the applicant’s resume. But if you have ever worked in HR it might make it easier for you to believe that something like this could happen.

In the ideal situation, hiring managers should have reviewed a candidate’s resume and made notes with questions and brought their copy of the candidate’s resume to the interview. Unfortunately, these kinds of things do happen occasionally and it does not make a good impression to a talented candidate. Knowing this employer it did not surprise me that such a mistake could happen even despite the fact that Jennifer was interviewing with an established city employer. Why could this happen and what can you learn from this? The employer had centralized their hiring and used antiquated systems (was still on a paper system). This means the location where the resumes are collected is not where the job interview will take place. In addition, this means that the only way to get the resume to the interview location on time is by fax, courier and so on. In other words, the hiring managers or panel members could not conveniently log into a system and retrieve Jennifer’s resume. And with a busy administrative support and short notice for interview times, well human error just happens.

Luckily, Jennifer brought a couple extra copies of her resume along with other documents like work samples, reference letters, and so forth in her portfolio. And this sure came in handy when she discovered that the interviewers did not have a copy of her resume.

So you might be thinking how it is highly unlikely that an employer is not using a recruitsoft (resume tracking and management system). First of all, there are MANY HR departments still on paper. It just depends on your industry. A colleague of mine who worked in Telecom just got hired as the HR Manager for a really large food retailer chain and discovered that most of her office mates did not know how to open an attachment in email.

Now the other reason why you should bring your resume with you: many resume systems make your resume look goofy. By this I mean many resume management systems would cause a nicely formatted resume to look completely misaligned and sloppy. Many older recruitsoft systems cannot display formats like bullets, tables, shading, underlines, etc. Take a nicely formatted resume with you so you can present something aesthetically pleasing to a prospective employer. While in resumes content matters most, packaging still makes an impression.

So the moral of this story is: Always always always bring a copy of your resume.


Photo by Alan Cleaver