“Can you Walk Me Through Your CV?”: Acing the Answer

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Talking about the details and nuances of an interview is never enough. Perhaps that is the reason why we talk about that dreaded and coveted I-word so often. This time we are going to talk about how to be prepared to answer this frequently asked question in interviews.

There is a high chance your interviewer or the hiring manager would ask you something along these lines:

“Can you walk me through your CV?”

Now, the ball is in your court, and you have the chance to construct your CV-tory in the perfect way possible. This is that moment in the interview when you have complete control. It is that one moment which can help you stand out from others. It is one thing to hand over your CV, and it is another thing to talk about your CV, essentially giving a complete summary.

So, what are the things to keep in mind when you are asked to walk through your CV? You are going to talk about your CV, and you are going to talk well!


Know What You Are Going To Say:

Like the elevator pitch, it is almost like preparing a script. You have to know what you are supposed to say but also keep the context in mind.

You have to be prepared to talk about the following things:

  • Your education
  • Your skills and competencies
  • Skills include soft skills as well as hard skills
  • Work experience
  • What role did you have in your previous work experience
  • What drew you to that job, or/and the job you are interviewing for
  • Why did you leave your previous job
  • Any particularly special or motivating achievement of yours in your work experience, especially if you think it will add to the firm’s culture
  • Any additional qualifications



We cannot stress enough the need for spontaneity and not parroting anything.

You will have to keep the role in mind while talking about your skills and certifications.

What you say or at least what you say first should be relevant to the position you are applying for. It often happens that people are so busy recalling and in listing out each and every achievement that they forget about relevant achievements.

If a position requires you to have great computer literacy and you have a certificate in, say, Programming, you must mention it. The need to mention that is greater than the need to mention that you have certificate in, say, Calligraphy.

You must prepare a mental structure where you sift out and prioritise all the achievements and skills according to the role you are interviewing for.

The skills would measure differently on the ‘relevance meter’ as per the job role.



You nor the interviewer/hiring manager have all the time in the world. Your walk-through of the CV should be concise, clear, engaging and to the point.

You can ask whether they want a short version or a longer history. And then begin talking accordingly.

A short version has to be around 3-5 minutes. Not more than that, unless you are asked to elaborate more on something.

This is the reason why you need to have a basic (but flexible) script in mind. The words should flow out. This is why you must remember and be prepared beforehand.

It is not a bad idea to rehearse the outline before the interview. Practice will make you perfect.

Practice will help you time yourself, work on your enunciation, the chronology and the sorting out of relevance.


Does this not sound like writing a CV? That is the point.

A basic, obvious but nevertheless a good idea to structure your CV walk-through is to keep the structure of the written document in mind. You are indeed being asked to walk someone through your CV. It is in your hands to make that walk a pleasant and an engaging one, the kind that lands you the job!



Do You Need A Resume Or A CV?



You are done with your education, and you now feel ready to take on the  world of work.

Or you are just planning to get back to working after that much needed  sabbatical.

Your little one now goes to school and you finally feel you have enough time to rejoin the office after years.

BUT… there’s always a BUT, isn’t it?

The companies ask for a CV. You see the menacingly familiar word ‘resume’ all over the place. You have no idea how to go about creating it. You vaguely remember learning to create something like that in school, but that was years ago! Feeling overwhelmed to some extent is natural but that  shouldn’t drag you down, right? Especially right at the supposedly first step.


Preparing a resume and/or a CV (yes, the two are a bit different: we will get  to it soon) could be a daunting task for many. After all, to a great extent  “it  gives you away.”

So, here is a little guide as to what all you should look out for and what all you could include while making a CV.


First things first, let us get our concepts clear! Earlier there used to be a huge difference between a CV and a resume. But now the only difference is essentially of the length. Both include a summary of your work experience and education; only, the resume is ideally supposed to be just a page long. A  CV, short for  ‘curriculum vitae’  could be a little more detailed, with two or  three pages.


‘Resumes’ are used in the United States, Canada and Australia. CVs are  used everywhere in the world including the UK, New Zealand, Asia and the  European Union.

If this is a bit too complicated to understand, the good news is that the two terms are used in an interchangeable manner in India, New Zealand and South Africa.  You could now just focus on creating a CV and tweak it according to the country where you have applied.  (Source)

Now, let us get to creating one!

You need to list down your skills, that is, your key expertise. These are what the recruiters would screen through.

Your work experience needs to be added. You begin with the latest, then the one before, then the one before (you get the drill, right?) and right up  to your first job.


You also include your work tenure. You have to be particular here:include not just the duration but the years of joining and quitting. Make sure to include the location. Basically, where on Earth have you been when you were at this job?

Also, if you have had a particularly short stint at a role or you have had to change jobs too frequently, include your reasons. You don’t want to come  off as a job hopper to the recruiters! Make sure to convey your reliability  this way so that there is no fear that you would suddenly quit or stop  showing up at work.


You have to include your job responsibility. What all you handle at your  current job/ what did you handle at your previous job. Make sure to write  only your responsibilities and not blindly copy-paste the ones you might  come across from sampled CVs.

Essentially, you subtly sell and market yourself. It is a job “market” after  all.


You continue the self selling and the marketing and list down your educational qualifications. You write down your degree, the institution where you did  your degree from, the year you finished your degree.


You include your contact details: your name, very very obviously, but it’s always a good idea to check such a seemingly basic thing. Your E-Mail I.D, contact number, address, Skype I.D  have to be there.

Your age, and date of birth are important because certain jobs do have age limits.


The subtle self-marketing continues as you list down the languages you know.


You tell your prospective employers what a well-rounded personality you have as you list down your other skills, and your interest areas.

It is important that you are honest. Do not copy and paste. Imagine if everyone copied and pasted a few samples. Every other CV would end up looking the same. We certainly don’t want that, do we? A personalised CV is a lot more attractive.


Check, double check, triple check your spellings, punctuation and grammar. You may or may not be applying for the job of a proof-reader but you must use that skill for scanning though your own CV. Ask your trusted friends and family to go over the document. An external observer could spot mistakes you might have overlooked.

Check the layout. Make sure it looks professional and tidy. Imagine your reaction if you were the employer and a CV such as yours came to you.

The format should be that of Word and PDF. Provide the necessary links and URLs.


Draft and re-draft your CV if needed.


Once you have got a hang of it, and if you want to notch it up a bit, you could check out the concept of video-resumes. They directly showcase your communication skills, personality and your overall presentation. Although you must make sure that they are accepted where you are planning to apply.

Video or no video, using a neat photograph of yours accompanying your CV  is a good idea.


Lastly, what not to do: if you don’t have some essential job requirements, you shouldn’t apply. You could be under-qualified or over-qualified for the role. Besides this fact, in case some of your experience matched very well to the job role, then you may apply stating this fact , and highlighting it. Here, you do the self marketing and selling a little loudly and clearly.

Do not list completely unrelated skills. The skills you talk about on your CV should always be relevant to the role you are applying for. This is where tailoring comes in. For every role you should ensure you are highlighting the skills it requires and remove any completely irrelevant skills or experience.


It is always a good idea to research online as you go on creating your CV. Make sure you create something original. Use the samples just as samples.

Again, try to use your imagination and see if you would be pleased as an employer/recruiter if you received a CV such as yours.


Good luck!