Your Warm Application: Resumes
Welcome to Day 6!
Let’s consider the role of the resumes. We want to treat them as not the primary factor like tradition would suggest. Instead, they are supplementary to the relationships and network you build.
Most people have very bad resumes. The badness comes in many different forms. Let’s contrast “the bad” with “the good.”
Consider this example:
“An honors graduate seeking employment in a fashion environment. A self-motivated visionary who demonstrates responsibility, ingenuity, and focus on quality customer service. A detail-oriented creator with a good eye for thinking outside the box. A strong team player with a keen ability to multitask and lead teams to achieve optimal results.”
This is an extreme example, and as I’m sure you’ve noticed, this opening statement is extremely convoluted and unfocused.
What is a customer service-focused and detail-oriented visionary fashionista who is also a team player who can think outside the box? That’s not going to be easy to live up to. It makes a number of unsubstantiated claims. So far, there is way too much “telling” and no “showing.” Remember that every statement should be demonstrable and proof-tested.
Furthermore, this narrative is all over the place already. There is the potential for a cohesive narrative that could tie into the focus on fashion. But it needs to be much more specific and modest in its scope. All we can get here is that this person likes fashion but has no real idea of where they fit into the fashion world. Therefore, more work needs to be done to figure that out.
Here’s a better alternative:
“A B.Comm Event Management specialist seeking an event coordination role with a leading Canadian fashion designer in Toronto.”
The rest of the resume would build the case and narrative surrounding the candidate’s fit and value proposition as it relates to this objective.
For most people, the bullets on resumes consist of worthless facts that fail to help them.
The problem is that these facts are:
1. extremely boring
2. not connected to the narrative
Your resume should not be comprised of tedious chronological facts where some are pedestrian and some are highlights. They should all be highlights. If something on your resume is not a narrative-supporting highlight, it should be scrapped and removed (WCT).
But what is a narrative? Narrative is a cohesive story about who you essentially are and what you essentially can help with or do. You should be able to boil this down to a simplified essence that can be explained in one sentence. It needs to demonstrate an understanding of a problem and showcase a clear solution as succinctly as possible.
Narrative can be expressed like this: I am an X that can do Y.
Simple right? Let’s put a little more definition to it: I am a [X specialist] who can [solve Y pain point or problem].
All your marketing highlight bullet points will back this up.
With regard to the resume from which we borrowed the last example, let’s look at the facts included under just one of the “work experience” entries:
“Responsible for development, maintaining, and supporting of new and existing applications.”
I’m sure you can spot the redundancy. This person may as well have just said, “As a software developer, I develop software.”
Let’s consider how it could be improved:
“Led team of four developers on support and feature improvement of Preferred One’s flagship product, LoyaltyHQ, which continues to produce revenues in excess of $2.5M per annum.”
Hopefully, you can see the difference here and how the second version has 1000-times more impact.
Let’s look at another one …
“Build credibility, establish rapport, and maintain communication with stakeholders at multiple levels, including those external to the organization.”
“Build credibility”? Show it! What is this credibility you speak of? With whom are you creating rapport and why should we care? Who are these stakeholders and what levels are you referring to? Who are the external ones?
“Tasked with organizing and executing quarterly progress report meetings with internal VPs and external investors.”
You may have spotted the following improvements:
• credibility = progress reports
• rapport with internal VPs and investors
• the reason we should care: You were the one chosen to carry out this important task
Tomorrow, we’ll tackle cover letters!
Happy job marketeering until then,
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