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How To Make A Resume that Would Impress Every Recruiter

How To Make A Resume that Would Impress Every Recruiter
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The most common stat on “amount of time recruiters look at a resume” is six seconds,[1] although it’s probably somewhere between those six seconds and 15 seconds on the high end.[2] Regardless: it’s not a lot of time. Your ability to advance in your dream job search starts with a process that takes less than the time it takes to scramble eggs (and significantly less, too).

Because of the 6-15 second screenings, your resume needs a different approach. For years, the conventional narrative was facts: job titles, tenures, education, etc. Now a resume needs to be more. It needs to be a narrative, because a narrative will convey who you are. Facts can’t do that. Employers want to know who you are — and whether that person is someone they’d want.

In those 15 seconds, then, you need to make that employer remember you and want to advance you in the process. But how exactly are you going to do that?

Start with How You Want to Be Remembered

Sit down and write this sentence down: I want to be remembered in 15 seconds as ________.

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Then get to work on filling in the blank, which is going to be your narrative. After someone who’s never met you considers your resume for 15 seconds, what do they need to be thinking about you?

As you begin to think about this question, here are a few tips:

  • Think about what you consider to be your most impressive experiences to date (name of college, brand-name company, etc.)
  • Think of a few lines about your biggest projects, research work, or anything else. Companies increasingly want to see what you’ve done instead of where you’ve done it, so put these together: ever led a study? Managed a marketing campaign globally? Donated/volunteered/raised money/etc.?

Make Every Word Count

Some estimate that up to 50% of words used in a resume are irrelevant to the position being applied for, and there are certain “trigger” words that HR and hiring man agers always cringe about.[3]

Brief and Powerful

Think about your accomplishments and succinctly define them. Remove irrelevant information or anything that seems too buzzword-y (“data ninja”). Remember: this should only be about 1 page.

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While you can’t lie about accomplishments, word choice matters immensely here.

For example, “summer intern” means nothing to most hiring managers. But “summer marketing strategist – intern role” might mean a lot. Similarly, “created presentations” doesn’t mean much —  but “designed a curriculum and presented to an audience of X-amount” might.

Visualize Your Words

The other key concept is to add qualifiers to help the resume reader visualize the situation. When you gave a presentation, how many were there? If you managed e-mail marketing for a company, how many countries are the emails sent to? How many on the mailing list?

Have you ever coordinated a team’s “first” of anything? (i.e. first team-building retreat, first audit.) Include that. If you’ve managed others, note how many: “Managed a team of 12 to results including 163,000 new subscribers to the service.”

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Specific, quantifiable, and brief. That’s the sweet spot.

Show Some Personality

Include some extracurricular activities, passions, and interests. Also tailor your resume to each application and drop something in that might show why you want to be at that specific company.

Here’s an example that takes some work but is worth it. Let’s say you really want to work at Company A. You do some research about a position and go on LinkedIn to find the hiring manager. On his profile, it’s clear he’s into horses. You also like horses and ride a lot! You could work this into the cover letter, but there’s no guarantee he’ll read that. The resume he’ll likely scan. In your “About Me” or “Extracurriculars” section, lead with “Horses” or “Horse-riding” or however you want to define it. You just showed your real self, defined your personality, and forged a connection with the hiring manager. Triple win!

What Not to Miss in Your Resume

  • A resume should be about 1 page —  with an absolute max of 2 pages.
  • Basic fonts (Arial, Times New Roman) and sizes (10-14). Basic margins (1 inch) too.
  • Do not include a photo. This can work for acting/modeling jobs, but for almost every other type of job, don’t do it. It can turn recruiters off (there are diversity issues within the idea of including a photo) and a bad photo could get you rejected even if everything else is a perfect fit.
  • Use a PDF format because Word can change across different platforms.
  • Spell-check repeatedly or have 2-3 friends read it for errors or any misspellings.

Remember: a Fact Sheet Will Never Be Impressive

Stay between the lines on all the formatting rules and expected professionalism. That’s your baseline.

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Make sure your resume tells a story — specifically, of course, that would be your story. It cannot just be facts, dates, and universities. Everything needs to be woven together into a story.

Show your personality and qualify (and quantify!) your accomplishments.

You have somewhere between 6 and 15 seconds, but if you follow this script, you should be able to drive a lot of attention and interest in your resume.

Reference

More by this author

Brian Lee

Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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