Resume Writing Tips
By Leo Gura - January 24, 2014 | 0 Comments
The secret mindset that makes writing effective resumes super easy.
Hey this is Leo for Actualized.org and in this quick, self help segment I’m going to give you some practical resume writing tips. Alright writing a resume. It’s actually a really simple and easy process once you get the mindsets correct. That’s exactly what I’m going to do with you here.
I’m going to give you some practical ways of thinking about writing your resume that are really going to make it a breeze. You’re not going to need to take some expensive course or spend a lot of time on it. Writing a resume, this is the whole secret, are you ready for the secret?
It’s all about understanding what the employer wants. It’s about understanding who you’re appealing to and what their needs are. Here’s what you’ve got to understand, and you’ll really understand this when you become an employer yourself, which is what I did.
I was first starting off my career and I was an employee like you are right now. I was really scared about writing a solid resume. I was scared about what do I put in there, what do I leave out, how do I make it appealing, how do I fluff it up so I can compete with everybody else? So I was coming at it as an employee.
Then later in life I started my own business. I got the opportunity to hire people, and I hired a few people, and I was coming at it from the opposite side. It was looking through the looking glass, and seeing that as an employer, the process looks totally different. Here’s how it looks for the employer, because once you understand how it looks for the employer, you can empathize with that, put yourself in that frame of mind, and writing your resume is a breeze.
You can be in the top 3% of all your competitors because all of your competitors don’t understand this. Especially if they’re applying for entry-level jobs, that job has 1-5 years of experience. If they’ve got more than five years of experience they probably understand this because they’ve applied to many jobs. But between one and five years, which is when you’re just learning how to write resumes, you’re going to knock them all out of the water.
Think Like An Employer
So here’s how you want to think: as an employer.
The employer has specific requirements. That means if I’m running a company, I need someone to handle problems for me. As an employer, I’m doing math because I’m business-oriented. If my business has been in business for more than a year, then it’s stayed that way because it’s profitable. Or at least because someone is looking out for the bottom line.
And the way that happens is, someone is sitting there saying, “I’ve got this opportunity in the marketplace to make some money. I need someone to do this thing for me. Or to handle this part of the business, to do the marketing, or to do the sales, do the coding (whatever it is that you do). I need someone to handle that. I need someone that’s really good, really reliable, really talented, and also affordable. I need this fast, right now, because I’ve identified that I have this opportunity or this challenge that I need help with, so I need someone to fill the position fast. And I need that person to be honest and straightforward so I can analyze their skills. Of course I want them to be very competent in what they’re doing. And I want them to be specialized. I don’t want a generalist in most cases, with very rare exceptions. What I want is someone who can come and fix a specific problem.”
That’s how an employers thinks.
So for example, if I’m developing a website, and if I am self-employed, and I’m creating my website and I know a little bit of HTML and a little bit of CSS and I know basic web design, so I’m creating my site but then I run into a problem. I need to create a shopping cart and I need to integrate that shopping cart with the rest of my site so I can sell my products.
But I do not know all of the complex coding language that is necessary to implement a shopping cart. I’m unfamiliar with shopping carts, and it’s going take me far too many hours to learn how to implement a shopping cart. I’d rather outsource that. So, that creates what? An employment opportunity.
That’s an employment opportunity. That means I can hire someone and someone can become my employee for a while, or for forever, depending on how long I need that work to handle this problem for me. This is a specific problem.
Now think about it, I’m going to go out there now — and play along with me — I want you to put yourself in my shoes, as the employer. So you’re the employer, now think about this. You’re going out there looking for someone to create a shopping cart for you. How are you going to find that person? What are you going to look for?
First of all, you’re going to have a very specific list of criteria that you have. You’re going to say that you want this type of shopping cart, you want it to accept Visa and MasterCard, you want it to do it in such and such a way, with maybe a couple of these features. You need it to save the users’ history, password, and shopping history. You want to track orders with your shopping cart. You want to sell these types of products in all these different categories, so you have all these specific requirements.
Looking Out For The Bottom Line
And then, of course, you want someone to do that for you at the lowest possible price. You don’t want to hire a programmer that charges you $100,000 to design a simple shopping cart. You want to get that at the most affordable price because you’re looking out for your bottom line.
The reason you’re creating this business, and you’re creating this website, is because you want to sell a product. If you’re selling a product, and your profit margin on each product you sell is $10, every product you sell you makes $10, but then you’re going to spend $50,000 to implement a shopping cart?! No way! How many products will you have to sell to pay that off? It’s going to be a bad bargain.
So you’re going to want to find someone who can do that shopping cart for maybe $1000. That makes sense, because you do have to sell about 100 products times 10 to pay off $1000. So that’s a good deal. I understand the employer is looking at the value but they’re also looking at skill.
So one hand, I want a shopping cart program here that is going to be fairly affordable. On the other hand, I want him to be talented as he can be for that price. So, what does that mean? That means I want him to be skilled at all the different languages that I need for this cart, and I need him to be reliable. I need him to know more than just one language. I want him to have two or three languages and experience actually doing what I need.
Because if he doesn’t have the experience that I specifically need, than how can I trust that he’s going to be able to do it? It’s going to be too risky for me, right? Think about this.
You’re hiring a shopping cart program, but what if you hire a generalist programmer instead? Would you be happy with that? So if I came to you as a programmer, and said, “I’m going to make your shopping cart.” You say, “Okay, how many shopping carts have you made before?”
And I say, “Well, look, I haven’t made any shopping carts before but what I have done is: I’ve worked on some databases. I’ve worked on some other websites. I programmed a Visual Basic. I programmed in my high school class. I’ve programmed in college. But I’ve never done a shopping cart.”
Are you going to want that guy? Probably not.
Not if someone else comes to you and says, “I’ve done a hundred shopping carts. I know it back to front and I can have it done for you in a week.”
Easy, not a problem, right? You’re going to hire that guy.
Leave Out The Fluff
So, these are some of the mindsets. What I want you to do is take that mindset and flip it around and use it on you. So whatever position you’re applying for, think of it this way. What does the employer really want? How can I give it to them without a bunch of garbage?
When you’re actually writing your resume, and this is where the tips really come in, is the mindset meets the paper in this way: when you’re writing a resume, be clear about what you’re offering.
Specifically, get rid of all of the fancy mission statements. Get rid of all of the fancy, jargon-y words, trying to fluff yourself up. Employer’s see through that bullshit really, really fast. In fact, if you ever become an employer and you look at piles of resumes you get on your desk, you can see people who are trying to fluff themselves up. It’s so, so apparent. They’re trying to make themselves out to be more than they really are.
The best resume is a simple bulleted list of exactly what you do. What you specialize in, are going to do for this employer, what your skill sets are, how much experience you have, and what some of your personal characteristics are that will create success.
That means: Are you on time? Are you good at working with other people? Are your friendly? Are you sociable? Are you diligent, and hard-working? Are you reliable?
Definitely mention those qualities, because every employer basically needs that in their employee or it’s not going to work out. Have those qualities mentioned, but generally focus on the skills that you can provide.
What can you do? I can create a shopping cart on your site. I can write some web copy. I can do some marketing. I can do some sales over the phone. Whatever your skills are, list them specifically: I know HTML, I know C++, I know this coding language, I know how to check grammar. And then of course back that up with experience.
So list what your experiences are, then back up your skills. For example, if you’ve done several years of work with HTML, say that. If you’ve created a ton of websites, say that.
The Best Resume Is A Portfolio
If you have examples of the kind of work you’ve done, that’s the best.
It’s actually a portfolio. And if you have a great portfolio, you’re done, you’re sold, you don’t need anything else. In fact, if you have a strong portfolio, I would lead with the portfolio. Because once someone sees your amazing work, that’s it, they’re sold, they don’t need anything else. The rest is words.
Resumes should not be wordy. It should be very sparse. It should be like a skeleton. It should be an outline of exactly what you are providing to the employer. The employer is selfish. They don’t have time to read through your garbage, and your flowery language and your philosophy. They don’t care about any of that. They care about what you are providing, and if you are a good match for exactly what they need.
And then of course there’s going to be the conversation about money. And you want to figure that out, and I will cover that in another video about salary. But, that’s basically it. That’s resume writing tips for you.
I’m going to be signing off here. Go ahead and leave me some comments, tell me what you think about this. I think you’ll really find this valuable if you just make that mental shift, it’s a mental shift. Put yourself in your employers shoes.
That’s the whole secret to resume writing. Once you’re in your employer’s shoes, you don’t need me to be giving you specific tips, you figure that all out yourself. You’ll know what to do, effective and very easy.
So, leave me your comments, let me know how this worked out for you. Like this and share it, and of course visit Actualized.org for more self-improvement videos where I cover topics about career, life purpose, finding something that you’re really passionate in, and psychology: the psychology of success that you are going to need to get that new job and really kill it. And also subscribe to my newsletter there, it’s free.