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Mice, Antelopes, and Your To-Do List

Mice, Antelopes, and Your To-Do List
antelope in the distance

    You are a wolf. At your job, you spend much of your day chasing, capturing, and eating field mice. At the end of your busy day, you feel exhausted but strangely unfulfilled. Why? Because the energy required to catch a field mouse is greater than the caloric content of the mouse. You can’t live on a diet of field mice. Trying to do so eventually results in starvation.

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    As a wolf, what you really want to eat is antelopes. Antelopes are big. Capturing one might require careful advance planning, cooperation with other wolves, and a full day of intense, focused hunting. Maybe even two or three days. But an antelope, when killed, provides you and your family a royal feast that can sustain you for a week.

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    The difference between the value of mice and antelopes is important when we think about our our daily to-do lists. If we spend our days chasing and eating field mice, we will enjoy the satisfaction of busy activity and short-term accomplishment. And we will get nowhere.

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    If, on the other hand, we spend our days pursuing antelopes (our most significant, highest payoff projects), we may need to plan better, work smarter, and wait longer to see the positive results of our efforts, but those results will move our organizations and our careers forward in measurable, even quantum ways.

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    Are you a mouse hunter, or an antelope hunter?

    “The simple fact is that being busy is easier than not. Responding to each new request, chasing an answer to the latest question, and complaining about overwhelming demands are easier than setting priorities.”

    — Heike Bruch and Sumantra Ghoshal, A Bias For Action

    Rob Crawford, a school administrator who loves baseball and acoustic guitars, writes on productivity and impact at Crawdaddy Cove. He thanks Tom Suddes at For Impact for the idea of the mice-antelopes metaphor.

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    Last Updated on June 25, 2019

    A Dull Resume Can Kill Your Job Chances, Here’s How You Can Write an Appealing One

    A Dull Resume Can Kill Your Job Chances, Here’s How You Can Write an Appealing One

    Fun fact: Recruiters take only 6 seconds to view a resume, according to The Ladders[1]. In other words, to further show how you’re a strong candidate of your dream job, first you can’t fail to impress the recruiters with your resume in 6 seconds. So, think twice before you insert a dense block of words. Leave aside any irrelevant visuals. Still confused? Here, we will show you what to do to stand out from your competitors.

    We Think It’s Good to Write Our Resumes in These Ways (But Actually It’s Not…)

    The More, The Better

    It is common for us to think the best way to impress the recruiters is listing all our accomplishments in life. So we select the narrowest margin and the smallest font size. We just try every possible way to put everything about ourselves in our resumes. Well, it may sound bit dramatic but the fact is more doesn’t mean better.

    As suggested by J.T. O’Donnell, author of the book Careerealism: The Smart Approach to a Satisfying Career, it is an EPIC FAIL to get everything to fit on one page.

    Myth of “Reference Upon Request”

    We should sound polite and humble in the resume and we are well aware of it. That’s why most of us put “Reference upon request” in our resumes. But if the employers are curious about your references, they will look for them themselves. To be frank, it is a waste of space to put these words at the very end.

    Irrelevant Working Experience

    Just imagine you’re now applying for the post of auditor and under “Working Experience” you write “Employee of the Month at Cafe ABC”. Will this earn bonus marks for you? Not really.

    While we think the recruiters would favour the candidates with more working experience, from their perspective, they may wonder if you’re creating a general template for the application of different kinds of jobs, and even question your sincerity and ability.

    Never Underestimate the Power of Your One-Page Resume

    Resumes determine your chance to be selected for interviews. There are a number of qualities employers are looking at in your resume. Education Background. Working Experience. Achievements. But what do all these mean to them?

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    Introduce you a key term: Employability. Employability is more than ability, competence and skills. And your resume reflects your employability.

    It’s not a rare case that when two people with highly similar qualifications apply for a position, only one of them is selected to attend the interview. It’s how they present their qualification in their resumes that makes the difference!

    A well-written resume can let the employers know you are the one they are looking for, rather than you are just one of the hundreds qualified for the job.

    Resume demonstrates your written and presentation skills. Whether you can describe yourselves in a concise, organised yet impressive way can tell a lot more than the qualifications you have. This is part of what an employer will look at, and you may not even notice that.

    6 Elements that Form the Killer Formula of Your Resume

    1. Quantify Your Achievements

    How? Describe your achievements in numbers, instead of words. And it’s not about how many points you include, but how the numbers reflect your contribution in your previous jobs.

    Why? Only you know how much you achieve in your previous jobs. It’s difficult for recruiters to find it themselves. Thus, do them a favour by providing the figures and numbers that quantify your previous achievements. This is definitely better than recounting the job responsibilities of your previous jobs.

    Example Mention the exact number of participants in the event your held. Or the amount of money involved in the campaign. If you are applying for a marketing position, talk about the view count of the project instead of vague and general expressions like “excellent reception”.

    2. Properly Use the Magical Buzzwords

    How? You can actually do a little trick to impress your employer by the use of buzz words. Do a short research in advance before submitting your resume.

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    Check out the words that appear the most in the company’s description, vision or mission. And then use these words to replace the stock phrases in your resume.

    Why? Ever heard of like-attracts-like theory[2]? Using words that they like to use can greatly arouse their interest on you as they think you share similar beliefs with them. Although you only change a few words on your resume, your odds of getting an interview may increase a lot.

    Example Understand the company’s values and include similar ideas in your self-description to show you’re a potential best fit for the organization.

    Besides, buzzword techniques can be used in different fields. While applying for a marketing position, use field-specific words like “marketed” and “promoted” to demonstrate your marketing sense.

    There are always words that are specifically used in certain fields. Playing a tiny word game may win you a ticket to the interview!

    3. Associate Yourself with Big Names

    How? If, by any chance, you have collaborated with any big brands (even with the slightest connection), put those names on your resume!

    Why? It’s the power of authority. Your credibility and competence are immediately boosted when you are connected with a big name.

    According to Cialdini’s principles of persuasion[3], people respect authority and would follow their lead. Associating yourself with big names can work as a proof of your capability.

    Example Is any client of your campaign a world-renowned brand? Is the sponsor of your scholarship a big name? Is your publication featured in any popular media? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, don’t hesitate to put the names on your resume. You won’t believe how much it helps to boost your credibility.

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    4. Provide Description of Where You Worked Before

    How? Sometimes, the recruiters may be unfamiliar with your old companies. Why don’t you offer a helping hand instead of having them look for the information themselves? Write a neat and concise description of your previous companies and spare the work for the recruiters.

    Why? The title “Manager” can mean a lot differently in a large company and a small one. Employers are curious about the nature of your previous companies to know more about your working background and the work you were involved. Besides, it shows you are detail-minded and consider the needs of the readers of your resume.

    Example Simply go to the “About Us” of the home page of your previous workplace and rephrase one or two lines from it. This will do the work.

    5. Use Bullet-point Instead of Text Blocks

    How? List your job duties in points instead of in paragraphs. Moreover, it is also nice to limit your number of points to 2-5. Only keep the important and relevant information on your resume.

    Why? Still remember the 6-second rule? Within this limited period of time, it is impossible for the recruiters to grasp the gist of your resume from your sea of words. Making your resume too wordy actually affects its readability.

    Example

    WRONG – “I worked as the Public Relations Manager at Company ABC during the period X Aug 20XX to X Mar 20XX. I was responsible for handling public correspondences. I was involved in a campaign in collaboration with the …”

    GOOD – “Public Relations Manager, Company ABC X Aug 20XX – X Mar 20XX

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    – Handling public correspondences

    – Involved in a campaign in collaboration with the …”

    6. Make Use of Space and Formatting to Draw Attention

    How? There is always something you want the recruiters to focus more. A carefully planned layout can draw their attention to the points you want to highlight. Leave some space around the important points.

    Why? We all know recruiters won’t spend much time on reading a resume. And they may feel numb after reading hundreds of similar resumes. So keep yours pleasant to read and feed the recruiters with the most valuable information. Don’t waste their time and they will reward you with what you deserve.

    Example Prioritise information based on their relevance and noteworthiness. Leave the less crucial and conspicuous information at the later part of your resume. Proper formatting can also help highlight the important points. It can be done by italicising or bolding certain words. Did you pay more attention to the words with formatting in this article? Apply the techniques in your resume and see how they work then.

    Nice Resume Examples

    Lastly, we’ve prepared some good resume templates for you to follow. If you are struggling hard to begin, it may be the ideal place for you.

      Credits to: AGCareers

      • Note the use of quantification of achievements and bullet-points.

        Credits: BusinessInsider

        Reference

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