Your resume should communicate more than just the jobs you’ve previously held; it should communicate the VALUE you bring to any position. Here’s how to make sure it does.
by Julien Gordon
Who has the marbles to walk into an interview and drop this resume on the table? If I were recruiting for my company and someone submitted this resume, I would probably hire them on the spot.
You can write the most thorough resume, with strong action verbs, the nicest layout and the best schools and GPA, printed on the finest paper, but if it doesn’t communicate that you 1) create value and 2) get money, the chances of you getting hired are slim.
Size does matter
The sizing of each section of the resume is extremely important. Eighty percent of your resume is about your performance and 20 percent about your personality.
A lot of resumes are full of fluff. If you are overcompensating by filling up your resume with achievements and awards from high school or words typed per minute, it’s probably a sign that the size of your impact isn’t that great. Where you went to school and your GPA don’t matter that much—even a 4.0 won’t get you hired today. The baseline is that you have finished college, created value and have some sort of leadership beyond self.
A resume should not be a carbon copy of your job descriptions. Instead, each bullet point should communicate how you moved the organization or some aspect of it from point A to point B. Potential employers are more concerned with what you MOVED FORWARD than what you DID BACK THEN. You can even take it one step further and create a resume 2.0, which is more like a visual portfolio of your value. An addendum to your portfolio should include physical examples of the quality of your work (i.e., business plans or essays you’ve written, presentations you’ve created, an actual website or product you designed or marketed, etc.).
Employers trust results, not resumes
Let’s face it: most resumes are lies. There is so much information asymmetry in the career search process. Companies lie by posting job descriptions that don’t truly communicate the nature of the job, and potential employees exaggerate each and every bullet point on their resume, falsely presenting their true nature. It’s easier to search the dictionary for the perfect SAT word than it is for someone to actually create real value. Employers see you as a risk until proven otherwise.
Every company is hiring…even in economic downturn
In other words, no company is NOT hiring. When a company is down, it will hire anyone who it thinks will take it higher. The only way to bounce back from an economic downturn is to either lay off people and hope that things return to the good ol’ days or hire great people who will be intrapreneurs (i.e., entrepreneurs within an existing company) who will think of new ways to reposition and repurpose the company through innovation.
If someone great knocks on the door, they won’t shut it. But keep in mind that I don’t mean “great” as in “great person” or “great personality”—I mean someone with a great performance track record. Leading people over the past 10 years has shown me that nice people don’t always produce nice results. It’s sad but true: unfortunately, personality and performance aren’t correlated. Personality only gets you so far. Sometimes nice guys do finish last because they don’t perform.
Have you created EXTREME value? If so, how?
The best resume I’ve ever seen is Jay-Z’s. His resume is full of ways that he has created EXTREME value for companies he has started and worked with. School doesn’t prepare us to create EXTREME value; it prepares us to be employees. An 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. workday becomes a 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. job, and homework becomes work that you have to take home.
Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell (of Dell), Mark Zuckerberg, Ralph Lauren, Jack Taylor (Enterprise) and others dropped out of college because they saw ways to create EXTREME value in the world that college wasn’t preparing them to do. Imagine if Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg followed the rest of their classmates and ended up being a consultant or investment banker. I probably wouldn’t be typing this to you on a PC or a Mac, and you probably wouldn’t be reading it on Facebook.
I’m not saying this to encourage anyone drop out; I have three degrees, and I value each one because I used the free time and risk-free space to practice value creation. I failed at five business during college and grad school. Instead of seeing yourself as buying an education, see it as buying two or four years of time to educate yourself and demonstrate you can create value through on-campus leadership, entrepreneurship, event execution and internships. Even if you don’t want to be an entrepreneur, you need to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.
Everyone expects to have a job, but few are creating them
The last time I was speaking, I asked everyone who intended to have a job to stand up, and of course everyone stood up. Next, I said to sit down if they’d never created $1,000 of income in a year through any form of work, and about 30 percent of the room sat down. And finally, I said to sit down if ’they’d never created $1,000 of income on their own outside of a company before. Only a handful of people remained standing. This is the problem with our economy: everyone wants a job, but nobody is trying to create them. There is an imbalance between entrepreneurial-minded people and employee-minded people. Companies need both, but the entrepreneurial-minded person will always get hired first, and the employee-minded person will always get fired first.
Value is that which causes a transaction
True value forces whoever is being offered the value to make a choice. It causes the exchange or movement of time, money and other forms of capital. Most people are indifferent and happy with who they are and where they are, even though they may say they aren’t. Value makes them admit that they want to be somewhere else, somewhere better and then helps them actually get there. In my book, The 8 Cylinders of Success, I define this ability to close the space between point A and point B for someone else as your “professional velocity.” The higher your professional velocity is, the faster you will get hired. You communicate this on your resume through using “point A to point B” bullet points.
Unemployment is caused by bad resumes, not a bad economy
Unemployment is not a sign of the lack of jobs in the economy. Unemployment is a sign of a lack of people who have and can demonstrate that they have created value for others in the past. That’s why 50 percent of workers are underemployed, meaning that that they have jobs, but they aren’t using their passion, they aren’t reaching their full potential and they aren’t making their highest contribution to the world every day. Whereas the national unemployment rate is only 10 percent, underemployment is five times that. This cycle starts with your resume.
So many people drive to work, leave half of themselves in the passenger seat and drag the other half of themselves inside the office. Note that underemployment has nothing to do with one’s salary; you can be making $200,000 a year and still be underemployed. Economies fail when too many people are underemployed. Employees get mad when companies cut dead weight, and employers get mad when they realize that they hired dead weight. Are you dead weight, or are you helping your company soar? It’s hard for dead weight to move, so it simply holds on as long as it can.
It is what it is
At the end of the day, a resume 1.0 won’t get you a job, and a resume 2.0 might land you an interview. A resume is exactly what it means…without the accent over the e. It’s a document that employers use to answer the question “Will this person be able to resume (pronounced “re-zoom”) their past success here?” If you haven’t been creating value where you are right now—even if you hate it—it’s going to be difficult to communicate your value to another potential employer. If you hate your job, remember that you chose it by way of your past choices and actions, which ultimately shaped your future choices. So seek to create value wherever you are because it will only position you to do things that you truly value in the near future.
I’ll leave you with the quote that inspired this blog entry. It came from Jeremih’s song “I’mma Star” (an unexpected place):
So here I am… Check my DNA
Getting money’s the only thing on my resume
I thought I told yah… I’m a star
Are you a star? Is creating value in your DNA? And is gettin’ money evident on your resume?