If you write your resume effectively, you don’t need to create a separate “cheat sheet” to use at your interview. While it is entirely appropriate to have a few notes with you, don’t shuffle through reams of paper to find the right information. You will have your resume with you to share with the interviewer; make it work harder for you with just a little more preparation.
Your resume should include the qualities and skills the prospective employer requires for the position. This means tweaking your resume to fit each posting for which you apply. Find the requirements on the job posting and additional information on the company Web site, Web sites for the company’s competition, and other industry materials such as trade magazines and association Web sites. Networking with someone at the company who can give you insider information on current needs is optimal.
You will need to answer the dreaded “Tell me about yourself” lead-in question. It may sound a bit different, such as “Why should we hire you?” or “What are your strengths?” but all of these questions are aimed at eliciting the points where the company’s needs and your qualifications intersect. Write your profile summary as an outline of the points you want to emphasize in your 60-second introduction. All of these are about what the company needs, not about what you want. That is why the old objective statement is dead. There isn’t a company in existence that cares if you want “A challenging position with increasing responsibility that uses the skills and experience gained through my education and career.”
Use examples of your accomplishments, experience, and qualifications in your resume and be ready to give more details during your interview.
There are more facets to an interview that don’t involve your resume such as questions you ask the interviewer, salary expectations, and references; however, written correctly, your resume can be your best friend at a successful interview.