Job Hunt Part 2 – The Resume
When I was in college, I was allowed to take a resume writing class (a core class mind you) in my sophomore year. I still had two full years of college to forget everything I was about to learn, and my college didn’t care. So long as I took the class and had the box ticked, I passed core curriculum and that would be that.
Of the very few things that I remember from that class I remember these key elements.
- Make sure your resume is 1 page – no exceptions
- Make sure to start your resume off with your educational career and then list your job history
- When describing what you did – just write up a list of responsibilities
Voila! Now you have a resume. A really, really, really, shitty resume.
Be sure to submit this resume to every Burger King, Wendy’s, and Steak and Shake as possible – to really maximize your options.
Right about now you’re thinking “Geeze, Onesheet that was really mean what you just said! I don’t think you should take it that hard.”
I disagree 100%. Your resume is your first, and possibly only exposure to a company. Can you imagine if you submitted a resume to your dream job right out of college and it looked like this:
Education – Resume University – BSA
Hingle McKringleberry Family Restaurant – 2013-2017
Brought customers food
You might laugh when you read this, you might cringe a little thinking of just how similar your resume is to that example. Either way – everyone’s resume can deserve improvement, and today I’m going to help you with that.
First and foremost – FORGET EVERYTHING YOUR PARENTS HAVE EVER TOLD YOU ABOUT RESUME WRITING!
I’m not trying to be insensitive with this statement, but it’s true. The world that your parents set out finding jobs in back when they had just graduated college is long gone. My father has told me several times that when he was fresh out of college there were jobs waiting for anyone who wanted them. If you messed up that job and got fired, you would simply walk across the street to another company and get another job – no pesky unemployment required. Lose a job one day, gain a job the next. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Another thing I’m sure that you’ve seen. These same people – the ones who tell you that you just gotta let people know that you are hard working and persevering, these are also the same people who have made it nearly impossible to gain employment in certain positions. Want an entry level job? You need at least 5-7 experience in the field for that.
Here’s the thing, the people writing those job descriptions and coming up with these positions have a couple of things behind them that you aren’t thinking about.
- Many of these people are your parents. They have seen you grow and have sent you to college – they know what it cost them to do this and have an expectation of what you can do. Let me tell you, it’s hefty.
- Technology is their downfall. You are a technology genius. I don’t care if it is at plugging in an HDMI cable or writing sophisticated code for iPhone apps. Your parents think that you are Bill Gates of whatever you touch. They have seen you on your phones texting and surfing the web. They know how you can multitask – and they expect to see that on the job too.
- Many of these people haven’t had to look for a job for almost thirty years. If you can believe it, the generations before us would get a job and work there, that one place, until they retired. Sounds weird right? I know it does to me, hell, I’ve had 6 jobs over the past 10 years! A lot of these people don’t really know what it’s like to be a job seeker in this day and age anymore – and that fuels the cycle of difficulty.
How do I break this cycle?
I’m so glad you asked this question! First and foremost we need to break the mold of “classic” resume writing, and venture into some unknown territory. One thing I will tell you, if you aren’t willing to take the risk and change, you aren’t going to get the job. It’s just that simple. So ball up your old resume and let’s start fresh.
Writing your brand new resume:
When you think about your resume, don’t think about it as the piece of paper you send to companies in hopes for a job. Think about your resume as your not only your first impression but the story of your career. Yes, you have a story. Every job you’ve held and every job you’ve left. There were reasons you took the job and reasons you left. While you were there you achieved great things (they may not seem that way, but they really were great) so we need to tell the hiring representatives all about it in a clean and engaging way.
Before we start I want you to do one thing for me. Throw away these phrases from your vocabulary – hard working, determined, people person, great attitude, professionalism.
Think about it, what person looking for a job isn’t one of these things? Do you really think someone is going to put lazy give me money on their resume and expect a job? No way! If they are serious about getting a job, especially about getting a job with high pay – every single person has all of these qualities.
Here is how I would format my resume:
- Contact info – no address – name, phone number, and email address
- Certifications – if you have any certifications and that certification has a logo – throw it at the top right next to your name. You want to draw the HR rep’s eye to those certifications next – it shows you go above and beyond and can actually achieve things.
- Star with your most recent position held and work backwards. If this is your first job out of college this might be harder because you don’t have a lot of experience to show, if you are someone who has been in the job force for a while go back between 7-10 years or back to your first office job, whichever comes first.
- List out your technology skills next.
- List out your certifications again
- List your education
Do not under any circumstances put references on your resume.
Let’s dive into this a little more and get really specific.
- Contact Info – With the rise of telecommuting people can work just about anywhere nowadays. Typically people wanted to know that you lived fairly close to the company so that they would ensure you would be able to make it to work everyday – that worry is now a thing of the past. So keep it simple with contact info just your name, email address, and cell number.
- Certifications – these can be job related or non-job related. They can be old or brand new. The fact of the matter is showing you are certified really boosts your credibility. When I worked at my first technology sales job they offered certifications, held by the manufacturers of the product (typically via a webinar). These would be about an hour or two long and at the end you would have to pass a test. They would then send you a certificate of certification. Do these if your job offers! You can plaster your resume with these and it’ll make you look like a superstar! They don’t need to know that it was on the job training and took little to no effort.
- Job experience – This one we might break down more because it’s super super important. When you list out your job history I want you to do a couple of things on there to really add a lot of substance to your resume.
- Name of company
- Dates you worked at this company (formatted Month – Year, Month – Year (or month – current if this is your currently held job).
- Company description. Go onto Google, type in your company’s name, and quickly copy/paste the description they have. This will give the reader some insight into what the company did, and will help clarify your position to them.
- Job Title – list out whatever the job title on your name tag/business card was
- Job Description – just describe what your job is/was in a nutshell. Try to keep this to about 2-3 sentences.
- Achievements – rather than list out “job dutys” I want you to showcase your ability to succeed. When you list out your achievements at your job take between 8 and 10 and really aim to impress the HR person. If you are going for a sales job, be sure to put growth numbers/sales numbers. Did you hit quota? How many new business customers did you get per month/quarter? Did you win any awards? If you’re not in the sales world be sure to think of projects you’ve worked on and list out your role and why it was critical. Think about your colleagues and things that they were successful in, did you help them in any way? Then you played a role and it is notable and worthy to fall under the achievements section.
One thing of note: When writing these achievements out. Keep them short – about a sentence each – and use big words!
Your job in the job history part of your resume is to show these people what you’re made of and really let your hard work shine! If you can’t think of large words – go to thesaurus.com and find synonyms for those words and use some big ones! You need to make the mundane feel extraordinary when you talk about the achievements you had with your jobs. This is what is going to make the HR person move you from the trash to the considered pile.
4. Technology – Almost all of us use technology on a daily basis – even if you don’t think you do. In this section you need to list out every program, operating system, piece of work specific software you’ve ever touched and put it on there. When you refer to knowing Microsoft Windows list out each and every Windows version you’ve ever worked with (XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 10). When you refer to Microsoft Office don’t list out each program specifically like Outlook, Word, Excel – just say Microsoft Office Suite.
I had a job where we would enter data into a company specific program called MAS90. It isn’t used anywhere else outside of the company, but it looks impressive and at the very least, it’s a conversation point for the interview.
5. Certifications – This is where you want to just list out all of your certifications you have. Even if it is something simple like CPR certification – list it!
6. Education – When you list out your education simply list your school name, the years you attended, your major/minor, and your degree you earned. That’s it, nothing more on school.
This is going to take time, do not rush this piece! I highly recommend giving this to friends to read and review. If you aren’t happy with something and just can’t figure out the right way to word it or if it just feels off – take a break. Walk away from it and do something else and then come back to it a couple of hours later.
No matter what you do, don’t give up! I personally feel this is the hardest part of the entire job searching project, and you want it done correctly, especially if you are shooting for a higher salary.
You know you are worth this job and this money, so it’s time to show that to the company!
As promised – below is my resume for reference. If you ever have questions as you review this please email. I am here to help you succeed!