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Reality Check: Screw The Resume 5-ish tips for killing the interview without that piece of paper

Updated: Jan 30

Author: Brooke from MONO


You’ve made it in the door for your first interview—congrats! You slide a clean, crisp copy of your resume across the table to your first interviewer...but they don’t glance at it. Uh oh. That’s because your resume is only half the package. That piece of paper doesn’t hold the power—you do! Time to show up, stand out, and absolutely crush it.


1. Practice really does make perfect. Avoid that long, awkward silence that happens when you don’t know what to say. In fact, you have everything you need for the questions about to be thrown your way. Using your past experience, prepare 2-3 key stories that you can employ, no matter the scenario. So, when the question is posed “Tell me about a time...”

a. ...you were most proud of

b. ...you took on the role of leader

c. ...you broke out of your comfort zone ...you’ll be ready.


2. Don’t pretend you’re perfect. You want to shine (don’t we all?), but laundry listing your accomplishments and accolades isn’t always the best way to do that. We’re human—we mess up and make mistakes. Our industry is ever-changing, and companies are in search of people with perseverance, determination and vulnerability so be ready with examples that show personal growth or overcoming obstacles. When the question is posed “Tell me about a time...”

a. ...you had a disagreement with a coworker / teammate (and how you fixed it)

b. ...you messed up (and owned up to it)

c. ...you received poor feedback (and how you tackled/embraced it) ...you’ll shine.


3. Once upon a time. Having your story prepared is half the work—now you’ve got to

make it stick. You have to be a captivating storyteller, because you have the best story to tell: a story all about YOU! Just like in any book or movie, there should be several components to your narrative:

a. Introduction. Describe the problem you are solving for

b. Climax. How you approached the problem

c. Conclusion. The resolution from your actions As the author of this story, make sure that what you’re saying works in your favor— highlighting your thinking, your problem-solving abilities and all-around bad-assery.


4. Read the room. Your examples are great, your narrative is built, but your interviewer

keeps checking their phone. If you’re not keeping your audience engaged, you’ve lost them. a. Brevity is king. Be intentional with your responses. A good rule of thumb is to

speak in 30-second chunks. Get in and make your point, then get out and move on to the next question.

b. Curveballs. Talkative vs. silent. Loud vs quiet. Packer fan vs Viking fan. You’re not always going to be paired up with someone who matches your personal communication style. Be prepared to adjust your approach to meet your interviewer where they seem most comfortable.

c. Passion wins out. Show that you are excited and love what you do! Own the

room. Be fluid in your posture, leaning forward and back, use hand gestures where appropriate, and feel free to just have a little fun.


5. Everyone pees. Back-to-back interviews can be daunting. Don’t let the anxiety of talking

for 2+ hours non-stop get you down.

a. Hydrate. While you may get offered a beverage, you can’t guarantee it, so make

sure to fill up your favorite water bottle ahead of time. Taking a sip of water also works as a brief moment to collect your thoughts before answering the next question.

b. You’re going to have to pee. Asking for a potty break can be a bit

embarrassing, so if you know you’re going to be there for more than one hour, pro-actively ask your interview coordinator to schedule a quick break halfway through.

c. A perfectly timed time-out. Saying the same stories over and over again can

get exhausting, so take the 5-min bathroom break as a moment to decompress. Think over your answers—what went well? What do you want to change for next time? Shake off any remaining jitters and come back in with the confidence you need to close the deal.


6. The big question. It’s the end of the interview and you’ve killed it. Now here comes the

killer question: “Why do you want this job?” It’s a deceptively easy ask, but one that too many people struggle to answer.

a. Why this company — I want to know you want to work HERE more than anywhere else. What about company X stands out to you above the rest?

b. Why this position — I want to know that you really have a passion for the

position you are interviewing for. What about this role gets you most excited?

c. Why advertising — I want to know why you chose this career path! What about

this industry drives you? (And if you can’t think of a great answer, then I hate to break it to you, but you might want to consider a career change...)

The resume is important, but it’s not as important as showing up as a strong, confident applicant. So, go ahead—screw the resume. Show up, have some fun, and walk out like you own the place.


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