Re-writing your resume? Focus on this!

Written in 2020

I had a call yesterday with my previous manager and he coached me on an important point regarding my resume:

  1. The resume needs to pass the 10-second scan test – if the first gatekeeper scans your resume, is there enough there to allow you through gate #1 (call candidate)?
  2. The first call (usually HR) is typically short and is a sanity check – is this person a liar or a weirdo? Can I approve of them for the next call?
  3. Take all the key points out of a resume, and make sure they show up on the resume
  4. Most smart companies are looking for people that are opposite to their current culture – the yin to their yang

Point 3 above is important. In order to pass the 10-second test, you need to show all the key points out of a JD on the resume. The resume is just there to get you to an interview. Nothing more. Don’t get too emotional over it. If you have to, copy and past the bullets out of the JD and into a text file, change them up a bit, and put them into your resume – assuming you do actually have that experience (I’m most definitely not advocating to lie. That will only harm you in later qualifying stages anyways). Add whatever extras you feel like adding.

Point 4 was the big one though.

Many Enterprise companies are setting up innovation groups, and hiring non-conformists and people with startup experience to bring in their innovation and energy into their company. This is happening in startups as well in the other direction.

If you have a lot of Enterprise experience, startups are probably looking for you.
If you have a lot of Startup experience, Enterprise is probably looking for you.
If you have a mix of both, congrats you can probably apply to either category.

In looking for a role the past few months, I have really struggled to figure out where it should be, and what it should look like. I have lots of experience, have worked with freelancers and startups, and done a tonne of digital marketing. Despite that, I was really lost and unsure how to proceed. On my own, I would never have looked at job hunting the way he described.

The call made me realize one important point: my strength is my weakness, and my weakness is my strength. He showed me that my uniqueness is what I should play up. That contrast is exactly what smart, forward-thinking companies are looking for.

My action plan over the next few days is this:

Reboot the resume and play up what makes me me
Make sure to show the main bullets out of the JD

Hope that helps!

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