Today I would like to discuss some other common mistakes that I see, and general tips to improve your resume. I hope that these help you in your hunt to be better prepared and crush life like the champion you are.
Here we go….
Let’s say you’re a recent graduate who hasn’t had many jobs in the past and has a hard time implementing a results oriented mindset into your resume. You want to display numbers, results, and accomplishments, but you can’t because you think you don’t have any.
How did you perform in school? Were you active in any organizations? Did you have any part time jobs? Did you help your friends study?
Maybe you are active on social media – use this to your advantage! Say how regularly you post and how much engagement you get. (If you post all the time and don’t have any engagement, sorry, but you probably should stop posting online).
Don’t have ANY of this? It’s probably because you’ve never worked a day in your life. If that’s the case, it’s not going to be easy to find a job.
I suggest that you go the workaway/teaching english route if you want to work abroad and try to find a job that won’t require as much (or any) experience. Use these experiences as a resume builder.
I don’t like words that require explanation. I once saw someone put the word “expert” into their resume. If you’re claiming to be an expert, you bet your ass I am going to follow up on that and ask you to justify it.
Don’t put in words that will require you to explain or justify yourself. If I find those words, I’m going to grill you on it. Don’t give me an opportunity to make you look like an ass. It could be your dealbreaker.
This goes back to the results mindset from before. If you gave recommendations, tell me what those were and what results you had? Analyzed something? What did you analyze? Be as specific as possible. I don’t want to have to ask you followup questions to get the full answer, I should be able to see all of it in your resume directly.
“Developed leadership skills and breadth of knowledge”
WHAT SKILLS? WHAT KNOWLEDGE?!
“Conducted research into best practices for corporate intranets and authored white paper on recommended improvements”
WHAT DID YOU FIND IN THE RESEARCH? WHAT RECOMMENDATIONS? WERE THESE RECOMMENDATIONS USED? (If you made recommendations that the company didn’t use…well those probably weren’t very good recommendations!
“Pursued opportunities for new global financing programs.”
Pursued opportunities? What the hell does that mean!? Does that mean that you called up and got information about financing programs? So basically you just collected price quotes? Not very interesting. Be specific or get rid of it entirely.
Although it’s only the section on volunteer work, it’s a great opportunity to showcase that you live and breathe your profession. The same rules apply.
If you worked at a soup kitchen for example, how many meals did you serve? Did you implement any systems to help feed more people? Improve the amount of time it took to feed everyone efficiently? Figure out ways to waste less food?
Or maybe you’re a content writer – did you document your work there? Grow their social media following? Produce work consistently over a certain amount of time?
TELL US ABOUT IT!
Volunteer work is another great spot to showcase how you apply your skills in work life to your skills in other areas.
Seems simple, but f I see typos I know that you’re not detail oriented. I don’t care how great your resume is, if I find one typo you’re gone.
I’m usually only looking at your most recent position. After that, I don’t care as much. I look for promotions and things like that, but your most recent role tells me how close you are to being able fill the role that I want to fill right now.
What does this mean? Put your experience at the top. Nail the most recent job.
I like to see that you’re an interesting person. That you read, you have hobbies, and do cool things. I like to know that you have a life outside of work.
No, this doesn’t mean “sports” or “nature enthusiast” – elaborate on it. Show why you’re passionate about it.
Throw a line in like “Obsessed with self optimization and personal growth, I’ve read everything from Tim Ferriss to Steven Covey to Dale Carnegie and Tony Robbins!” – Or throw a link to a “bookshelf” that you have created on goodreads.
Throw a line in like “I believe that balancing work with time in nature is a recipe for a healthy mind. I love hiking and exploring beaches and mountains so that I can clear my head whenever I’m working too much.”
Tell me that you meditate and you’ve completed ten packs on headspace. Or that you are a green belt in Jiu Jitsu. Or that you like to knit sweaters on the weekend.
This also includes self learning – I LOVE THIS!!! Have you taken any online courses? Taught yourself a programming language? Tell me about it!!! Self learners are the best people on the job because they require the least hand holding. If you’re a self learner (and you probably are if you’re taking this course), than put it in there!
Tell me SOMETHING that shows you’re someone interesting to speak to. When I interview, I always try to incorporate this into our conversations.
In general the biggest thing is that companies are looking for a reason why they don’t like you. When I screen resumes, my first pass is just yes or no. Only once I have a pile of Yes do I go back and look in a bit more detail. I’m looking for reasons not to like you. Searching for something you messed up so I can throw you into the “NO!” pile. Don’t give me that chance.
In today’s world websites are becoming more and more popular as a way to show who you are and why you are special. I’ve seen people make a one-page landing page website, and then export that as a PDF which acts as their resume. The live website is interactive though and gives an opportunity for employers to go through and see why they are special. Building a personal website is yet again, another way to help yourself stand out from the crowd.
Last but not least, a lot of people will recommend that you customize your resume to the job that you are applying to. While this is great advice and, if you have the time for it, generally is a good strategy….I personally don’t think it’s worth the time investment.
The cover letter (more on this in the next episode), is where you want to customize. This is where you want to do a different letter for each company. This is where you need to be strategic.
The resume is the place for highlighting your skills and previous accomplishments. The cover letter is the place where you can get specific about why you love the company, why you believe you’re a good fit, and why they should speak with you.
Don’t spend countless hours tweaking your resume so that you can customize it for each company. Do it instead for the cover letter.