Killer Resumes & Cover Letters
We're going to talk about common things that people believe about resumes interviewing negotiation, and then we're going to totally dismantle those beliefs and build them back up in the right way before we start, who here can share one thing that they used to think or that everyone told them about the dream job search process that has surprised and that totally changed the way you thought about what job to find. What should I do with my life? How do I meet the right people, et cetera? I want to hear one thing that surprised people that all the experts had told them, and now you actually have a different way of looking at a justin drew it's the same thing. We're just that kind of like that shotgun approach to send out as many resumes is you can just get your name out there and it's kind of like being on twitter. Maybe someone will see you. Yeah, now, it's, it doesn't work good. What else we have? Uh, daria schubert her says that sending resume to accompany is not the right approach. Wha...
t else drew what? I mean for me, looking at a resume for somebody like a hiring manager, looking at a resume is kind of like watching an infomercial it's somebody trying to sell you on selling and sell you on something and I don't really have much background or anything. So you know, for me, it's been huge for me to learn that you can get in touch with people. You can contact people via email and meet up with him and take it may not be quick. It may not be as quick, but sometimes the longer route is the better one. That's. Exactly. Right. Very good. All right, so we're gonna we're gonna dig into this. This is what we're gonna do. I was thinking about this over the break. I want to move through the resume section pretty quickly because I want to spend more time on the interviewing and negotiation, especially because everybody can use that whether you run your own photography business or urine online freelance writer or you work at a nine to five and you want to improve your salary and things like that. So this section on killer cover letters and actually just resumes were going to cover today. Uh, they can apply too. Every piece of marketing collateral thatyou create. We have, ah, module in dream job called you're perfect marketing materials, and that is exactly what your cover letter resume their marketing materials. Think about that. If you were going to create a marketing brochure, would you spend a lot of time on the copyrighting? Of course would you spend a lot of time on that design okay yeah that's not a perfect analogy because you don't really need to design your resume that well but they are marketing documents you are selling yourself so when people actually actually will often cut back on things because they think that's too much bragging they do this especially in cover letters totally wrong mistake to put it bluntly I have never turned down someone to hire them because they brag too much in their resume but I've turned down many and so have I so every hiring manager because they didn't brag enough okay so biggest mistakes that we see in resumes anybody have any idea anybody thank you take we'll start with this first this one's actually very surprising because a resume isn't it just like what have you done wrong resume is a marketing document if marketing was simply about saying what have I done in just the facts that's not that's actually just not marketing marketing's about telling a story now the story has to be accurate but it's about telling a story okay think about this if this is a huge huge blunder that people make with their resumes just like people walk into an interview and think they have to just answer questions wrong you've already lost because you're like everyone else a chronological list of faxes when people say from two thousand six to two thousand eight I did this I don't care what I care about is seeing your narrative so all the other expert advice, you're not all I shouldn't say all there's, some really good stuff out there. But a lot of the expert advice you hear is gonna be talking about. Use these power words or make sure that your margins are one inch but almost nobody will talk about a narrative. What is an area we apply what's called the ten second test everybody close your eyes pretend you are a hiring manager and pretend that you just got a resume sent you and that resume happens to be yours the real you so you the hiring manager looking at your resonates? You have ten seconds read it. Keep your eyes closed. Stop! Open your eyes. What do you remember? Who is this person? Are they remarkable enough to get the interview? What's your experience let's hear it? Who is this person? I saw my old resume that I would never use after the last three days, huh? And it was too long way too long. A person is really varied has a lot of interesting experience, but it took me too long to get through ten seconds you were at perhaps the second paragraph okay, who else? What else do we feel about that resume exercise? We just did for me I just look att most these renzo vase I get hundreds of resume applications for a job and literally they get ten seconds um and I just don't know who they are they're just it's just a list of facts work from here to here why do I care acne corp two thousand six to two thousand eight how does this help me? Who is the most important person in the room at that moment? The hiring manager right now your whole goal is that you can actually eliminate the need for your resume to be the world's best because you're going to use natural networking and you're gonna actually build a relationship but your resume still needs to be world class still isn't very good even if you don't have that much experience so in ten seconds I'm gonna actually show you the exact resume I used to get job offers at these different places but a chronological list of facts is not a narrative it's just dates and times and companies what what you want to do is within ten seconds earned the right to get their next ten seconds and that means you need to be someone super interesting you need to demonstrate that you're interesting on paper need to market yourself and after ten seconds that person should be able to put that paper down to say, oh out he's the guy who study technology and psychology and he's like got a little bit of marketing well that's interesting versus oh this person likes marketing and also cutting cheese what? I'm gonna show you how to do that that's mistake number one filled with corporate jargon we love to you it's so funny we look at other people's resident like god that doesn t mean anything and then we do it and we're like uh achieved unsurpassed success and fortitude at my company or like what the hell I don't even think that makes sense we do it even though we make fun of everyone else doing it too anyone here look at your resume and say there's just a bunch of jargon that means nothing yeah stuffy and boring a lot of us have a mental barrier like I don't want to have to write like that person ironically we try not to be marketing we end up being mohr marketing we use these words that don't even mean anything who you here can share a phrase or word from your resume that you use that you would never say in real life yeah proficient proficient no one has ever uttered that word out loud in english it's like a latin word no one even says it pro I'm proficient no and by the way it's not even impressive it's like it's like I could breathe I could read that I'm proficient in breathing oxygen and processing that molecule all right, irrelevant, but we use it why why'd you put that on your resume? Because it seemed like the right thing to do? Yeah, exactly and everyone else does great. What else? It's the model it's what we believe corporate canada america wants from us. So we cookie cutter and fit ourselves into that mold and thereby enter the trap of competing with everyone else millions of other people who have mediocre resumes and have chosen to go down the same predictable route everyone else has you already lost, so I'm gonna cover three steps to improve your resume one craft your narrative you will almost never see this advice given about resumes people will give you power words they'll give you margin advice, they'll talk to you about margins and funds none of that matters relative to your narrative. Your narrative is what allows you to differentiate yourself from everyone else in ten seconds. What is your narrative, by the way, remember back to yesterday when we talked about your pitch was a little bit of pitch exercises, I did cem tear downs and we ripped it up and then we came back. If you're looking for a nine to five job and you're doing your resume, what is your narrative? My narrative wass hey studied technology and psychology and he's has experience in marketing online marketing that was my narrative I'll show you how I accomplished at using words, but that was my narrative what's your nerves will goto online in a second let's stay in studio here for a second who's got one for sure, so I left this like big name college and built these online marketing skills from scratch with a variety of projects that are on my resume then moved we're into marketing analytics to incorporate some of that as well too long try again okay, so I've been in three positions all three of them have been small startup businesses, one of them dealt with marketing analytics one of them don't more with forward facing copy, copy writing, marketing materials um, and now I'm looking to move into you know, that sort of I know you're looking to move into what you're doing great and looking to move into using those skills both the marketing, analytics and the writing skills to move into a space where I'm using those for my own writing project. Now, obviously you could trim that up and make it crisp and fix the wording, but I just want to use what we call the plain english principle just put it in plain english, you don't have to put in a resume words right now we're just focused on actually just saying it and as you said it as everyone listen, does that sound compelling? It's okay to say yes or no what do you think, sir? Um I think it's less compelling hearing it than I thought it was yes, I think it's okay, I think it could be tuned up a lot, but you know you're basically saying in plain english you're saying I was ah online marketer I know about analytics and web stuff and I want to be a writer, okay? That's that's kind of impressive I'm in plain english I might pump it up by saying, you know, I want to bring my skills in online marketing analytics to help a content business generate way more traffic that's a little bit more compelling and then you could get even deeper and deeper the narrative I want hear other narratives in a second, but the narrative is what differentiates you not any given particular word the analogy is from investing is your asset allocation in other words, what you're pie chart looks like is more important than any individual individual investment. Similarly, when I wrote my book my table of contents, the way I structure the book matters more than any individual page do we all agree on that? So your narrative matters more than any individual word, okay, you could even possibly have a misspelling I don't encourage this, but if you had an incredible narrative that might make up for what we got online we have someone in melissa who says what I want my narrative to be studied graphic design and specializes in designing interrupted, interactive experiences in an advertising setting to marketing or big marketing, your vague it's pretty vague on, I think, it's vague because if she had spoken to someone in that industry, they would use certain key words that would let me know you're not a dilettante that you're actually in that field. So she's saying she specializes in this stuff, but then she's using super broad language as income group. Try that again. Come back later, but that's a good start, it's a very good start, actually. What else? All right, we have farnsworth who says I'm a technical writer in the semiconductor design industry. It looking to break into the writing market? It's pretty good. It's like specific his experience. What he's looking to do good. So the narrative stuff I don't want to belabor because I do want to leave time for other things. But this is the most important thing you could do with your resume. Ok? And I'm gonna show you an example of this in mind as well. Uh, make every word earn its way onto the page people it's so funny when I tell people all these different things to do with their resume there like he remained I don't have any space for this it's not gonna fit on one page I'm like okay really give me a give me a pen I cross off half literally fifty percent of their words because they don't mean anything when you have a narrative this is like your thesis if your thesis is technology and psychology with a background in online marketing every single word must earn its way onto the page to support that narrative. So all of a sudden if I talk about how he used to work in a pizza place is that relevant? No, it actually distracts from the reader's mind so it's gone struck off the page if I talk about how in college I used to do wakeboarding that could only serve the purpose of making me seem cool which is there is a reason in time and place to put that but if I'm crunch for spaces it support my narrative no again remember how yesterday we talked about everyone to serve everyone here we've done so much of the work such deep research in this stage that we know the actual words the hiring manager uses and so we know our narrative our narrative is going to be loved by the people that were being hired by every word has to support that we're not trying to be appealing to everyone and broad based and serving everyone out there is you send out one hundred residents were actually like a surgical knife every word must earn its way onto the page to support your narrative that means that for most people instantly you can cut forty percent of your resume right now words that don't mean anything things where if you write it into plain english we called the plain english principle I actually take people's resumes and write down in plain english what they mean they'll say stuff like achieved unsurpassed results in timeliness and productivity and I'm like in plain english that means I was on time that's it it's not that impressive in plain english you just you put lipstick on a pig deleted you can't use fancy resume words to cover up a piece of shit deleted because if you actually have a powerful narrative you'll have more than enough stuff to say on your resume does that make sense? Okay right with energy and confidence this seems like a weird and vague but it's actually super important particular cover letters icy cover letters and they start dear hiring manager uh I am applying for that delete you really get such a short amount of time it's unbelievable I do I rewrote a lot of my dream job students I were a couple of their entry paragraphs and it started like dear meike I'm thrilled to apply for blah blah blah and I showed them how to be excited tell great stories in there and then end with a huge amount of confidence and so that was one of the scripts in the dream job actually put a before and after cover letter I then brought some dream job students in for an event and I said send me your before and after couplers every single cover letter started with dear blah blah blah I'm thrilled to done and I'm like you guys can't copy my writing exactly this is not about plagiarizing the script in this case it's just about showing you the point is right with energy and confidence how many people here have a cover letter that is super boring and just you wouldn't even want to read it if it were someone else how many people how many people have read someone else's super boring cover letter every single one of us yet when we go to write it we write it in exactly the same way because that's what's expected of us you can stand out right there with your cover letter I'm thrilled to apply I'm very proud of what I've done it x y z when was the last time someone said I'm very proud almost never particularly for women they don't use that phrase and yet when I go into an interview I say you know it's it's interesting you ask that one of the things I'm really proud about my work at blob lies we were able to doubt it up I'm not arrogant about it. I am proud of what I did and I explain why and how we'll cover that in the interview section. But man, isn't it remarkable for someone to be confident enough to say I'm proud of this and then explain why you could do that in your cover letter to all right? So, um I think we have some more stuff on that site where you can get some terrorism before and after resumes but let's actually do a tear down I'm gonna tear down my own resume pretty much this is me going to be talking about how great my resume is for the next few minutes, so be prepared, but I am going to show you all the stuff I just talked about how it actually manifests itself in a resume so as the crew gets my resonate on the page right now oh, here it is I'm going to tell you what's going on, close your eyes, everybody, even the people watching you open it and you have ten seconds to read it go what do you notice? Good, good, what else? You studied a whole bunch of different things having just one thing, okay, what did I study without looking at the resumes I cheated I looked at it as you were saying a persuasion okay was the number one thing okay? What else? Anybody else? Psychology, huh? What else? The one place I thought you're a vague reese had conducted in depth tutorial on social influence blah blah he said papers on your website which is intriguing and I can go back and sort of fill in any gaps and I have okay, so I'm gonna analyze this for a few minutes and I want to show you what you can do right now all the stuff I showed you in the last light everyone's going like whatever made that sylvia, you suck well, now I'm going to show you how it applies. All right? So first of all, I lead with my education because it's a strong educational background but in general terms it doesn't really matter if it's a really strong educational background or not. One thing is the first line on this resume shapes the way you think about me I literally shaped the way you thought about me in five seconds. Why? Because what most people do they say educated at whatever college studied economics so boring such a waste of space what's my narrative who remembers technology and psychology with online marketing experience oh that's so interesting because my coursework included persuasion, entrepreneurship, computer science, blah, blah, blah so do you think that the person I'm sending this to the hiring manager who is looking for someone with this back up what is the first thing they say what they say? Damn, I gotta find out more about this guy he seems like seems kind of interesting wow he's the technology in psychology guy literally wrote it out, but I couldn't say I'm the technology in psychology guy so instead I actually described my coursework right? I'm describing my background in super engaging interesting terms every single person can do this you say oh, I'm just I just studied economy was so boring no you didn't you studied pricing you studied elasticity you said all these things oh, I just any communications that's not interesting really? You studied gender relations, you studied relationship he said all kinds of stuff all right, you are not thinking creatively enough yet, but when you know your narrative then you can actually dig back into it by the way, what people a lot of people say I don't know how to do this like I just think I did this boring thing. One technique you could do is actually just ask a friend hey, you know me pretty well what would you say are the most interesting things I studied in college? Okay, pretty pretty standard notice that I didn't uh like belabor the point about my master's degree because it's like it pretty much was the same thing I did undergrad so why do I want to waste any space it was one line moved on same thing with papers back then it was kind of rare for someone to put there like papers on their website so that was people like oh what a novelty okay, so um so here with pb wiki I co founded it I describe it in like four five words because um people don't know what it is right? But I don't want to spend say like oh it's the online platform for blob nobody cares described in his few words as you can move on now I actually think I could have done a better job because wiki farm is not really a well known term but the people who were reading it probably got it so here I'm describing some of the things I do manage marketing including blawg outreach strategic deals npr why did I put that? Think about the customer of this think about the person who's reading it who are they who's reading this who's the hiring manager perhaps eh founder of a startup company who needs someone to run marketing or a vp of marketing and a large company who need someone to do marketing for them? Does that make sense? So now we know that why did I say manage marketing what I say manage because they know that I can manage people because one of their fears is to hire some junior guy who doesn't even know how to manage anyone. Oh, so I addressed that already and then I put specifics including blawg outreach, strategic deals npr why did I put that again? Think about who? My writing for a founder of a startup who's. Probably I started this thing on his own and now he realizes he needs someone to help in marketing. What are his challenges? You're demonstrating various approaches that you have taken and can use for him you can utilize the same skills exactly. Hi lo hi. Technique. I started really at a high level manage marketing, so I started up here and then he's like, well, what does that mean? Oh, in the next clause I actually used the words that he would use blawg outreach he's like I need somebody to block out, which oh, my god, this guy does block outreach stretchy I need a strategic deal, right? So all of a sudden he's like, wow, this guy he's reading my mind but all of this happened way back here. Remember yesterday I talked about how things happened way back here and people worry about the kiss, but the decision was already made long ago when I was doing my homework I found out what they wanted and I actually happen to be good at it there are other things that they wanted that I couldn't deliver like I'm not writing about being a programmer here because I'm not a program I suck it program let's keep going coordinate with technical team why would I write that? Be able to speak up you can you can coordinate with other with other aspects of the company and it will be involved good also it's well known that marketers and technical people often tend to clash so I wanted to make it clear that I've actually worked with the technical team and I can speak at least cocktail party technical talk okay again answering their fears and showing them what might become so bloody oh it's so impressive tens of thousands of users blah, blah, blah so a little bit of bragging there. Okay, but notice how the bragging it's not it doesn't seem like this it's, arrogant, right created marketing strategies to launch people weak into tens of thousands of users with viral growth that's like pretty. So what the hiring manager saying there's like, oh wow, like I'd like to know, how did he do that? At the very least it's worth bringing this guy in tow ask him how he did that? Does that make sense? So the rest of this is on dh since then I would actually be able to improve a lot of this you'll notice a couple of other things before we move on from this all right and I'm gonna ask everyone what is your biggest insight so far from this resume tear down notice what I have here this is the company I used to intern with the one that I negotiate with my seventh grade friend what is the title I have your viral marketing architect the hell is that? I don't know but it sounds really interesting now it was a start up so I was able to create my own title and I of course asked my boss if it was ok to use it he's like I don't care boom but that was because I was positioning myself and I happen to know a little bit about viral marketing so you'll notice that all there's viral here there's stuff here so my client or person I'm writing for the hiring manager is like oh damn I've been looking for someone who knows viral you see see what all kind of fits together now I did not say one thing about by the way how does this look visually fine it's nothing great it's fine writes done in microsoft word now I happen to spend one hundred hours on this resume but that's not because I was like fixing the margins it's that I was moving tweaking thinking of my uh narrative perfecting every word to make it burn its way on the page you see that think about how much I fit into two lines here in one bullet point that took you know I don't know how many hours ten hours to get that one line now am I saying everyone has to spend a hundred hours no, you don't have to do it cause I did it and I'm a weirdo so you can benefit from my many many mistakes uh but what I am saying is the things that matter are not the things that other people talk about who here has heard a career center tell them you gotta make it fit on one page and make sure that you only use fifty paper font or whatever how many people look at that look at the room every single person has their hand up unbelievable why do they tell us this? Anybody no no no why do they tell us to focus on the font and this and that why anybody no make it aesthetically appealing but they don't know that that's what they know and it at least gives us a sense of control we do it because it gives us a sense of control like okay, I got this template from the microsoft word gallery, so I spent time doing work, but I ironically rise I don't even realize I'm playing the entirely wrong game you could have a text file document which has an incredibly powerful narrative and it would surpass the most beautifully designed resume now are there any exceptions already know the question I get asked rem eat does this apply to designers? Don't you need a beautiful resume for designers? You guys get that question yes, your resume maybe to look a little different for designers okay? Probably needs to look good but still you won't need to remember it's not just about the craft it's about the other stuff too. You need to address the concerns through the narrative. Okay, so let's, take this resume off the screen and let's go to people on the web and see what their insights have been. I just want a biggest insight from tommy mcmanus is biggest insight is every word earning its place in a resume could be replaced with every image in my portfolio. Yes. Oh my god. So true get rid of all the trash better to have five incredible images that support your narrative then twenty mediocre images that are all over the place great connection, by the way love that he took this and turned it into a creative side. Beautiful yeah definitely thank you. Tommy was great running dogwood says the narrative idea causes me to say stop and review every single word it also switches it from me to the audience exactly that's what we're doing here his whole class I told you it's a masterclass in psychology disguised as money, creativity and earning mohr and careers but we're really learning about how to get inside other people's had deeply and ethically what else mike p is wondering sales and biz dev has to have numbers don't they? Yeah you want to use numbers as much as possible there's a whole bunch of stuff I didn't cover just now because we're moving through but if you can support it with quantitative numbers that's that's amazing you can say you know, increased sales sixteen percent using blah blah blah don't just say increased sales tell him how you did it use every word to address every single hope fear and dream they have yeah that's terrific. Okay, anybody here want a radio? Even that one thing that you said you's a surgical knife when editing your resume it's beautiful that that one description that you gave uh viral marketing architect those air three words but right away I get volumes I've never seen you before. I don't know who you are, but I see like hipster academic in tune with this generation just three words and you gave me all that yeah, your language can truly craft the way that you're perceived so your reputation can literally proceed you before you ever walk in that room just the power of crafting a narrative yeah, justice yeah, because you can tell that every word is fighting for spot on that resume it's not that I can't just pick it up and just skim through it because I don't know what's following next it's not just common words. Okay, now I'm going through and I'm paying attention to every word, every sentence he written down it's not fluff. Yeah, exactly. Well said, I never thought about putting papers or research internships on education section. I don't realize that that counted very much the education like totally and like, what is even the point of putting that you might as well just delete that if you're not goingto actually add value, every line is about adding value to the reader, right? So by the way, we can applies to everything. Remember when I told you at the beginning of today you don't have to have a nine to five job to use this? You guys see how you can apply this you can apply to your portfolio. You can apply to your client proposals while your client proposals five pages when actually you could spend three pages writing about incredible value offer, cut the fluff, by the way, the reason that I even realize this was, uh, one of my early classes there, we had a professor professor begin and he had a really interesting exercise so we walk into this class is like sex one oh one one of my earliest classes and we had to take some something in the news and analyze it and you get it it was like three pages to analyze it from an perspective, so we studied it and we applied the ethical framework whatever, so he gives us a great on it. It goes all right. One page same article taken toa one page now, if you've written, you know that cutting something from three to one page is really hard, right? And he said, cut the fat on lee leave the filet mignon, cut it, cut it, cut it and we got we did the one page exercise and people got, like, sees you don't get sees where I went to college, nobody gets sees it's like super grade inflation, god bless it, but people got season, they were freaking out. These people had never gotten sees in their lives. The point was is so hard for us to cut it and he did that strategically, never again did anyone who ever went through that class they never forgot that lesson, which is every word must earn its way on the page see what I'm saying every word, every word must earn its win the page for one page resume or for my forty seven page long sales page same thing one big question there is a semi violent argument in the chat room I love this how long do you leave education on your resume after you've left school? I mean leave it what do you mean leave it? It should there was argument about whether you should have your education on there at all so you could spend the ten, fifteen, twenty years out whatever yeah, I mean, even even the senior level resumes I see have it on there so keep it on there and it'll show a little bit about, you know, it's not as important it becomes increasingly or increasingly less important, so if you have this much over time, you can cut it down to this much because your experience matters more, you know let's say forty five years old and I'm applying for a job I might make my education one or two lines pack it up, but one of two lines because the rest of stuff matters, but people want to check that box alright if they're looking at your resume and looking at the education it's kind of like in new york, you could say, oh, why don't they just sell apartments without a kitchen? Because nobody cooks in new york, but people still want to feel like they're going to cook all right, so that's why you got to think about it like that