We don't think like psychologists. And in doing so, we sell ourselves short. Here are six ways to change that:
1. Quantify your impact
Show your accomplishments in numbers, not just words. It’s such an easy way to standout since few people do this. Answer questions such as: how much money did you manage? How many people attended your last event? How many views did your promotional video have?
2. Make your interests as quirky as possible
You need to “start from the bottom.” The last line of your resume is where most people list their interests. Do not include this section at all – this could work against you if the reader dislikes or is threatened by the activities you list.
3. Show the competition
This one gets me every time. So many people win awards, get into selective programs, and do other impressive things but don’t convey the full amazingness of those accomplishments. It’s because they don’t show the competition; they don’t reveal how many other people were gunning for that very same spot.
4. Ask an employee for feedback
Relationships are more important than resumes. Before applying to any company, always connect with an employee – whether through information sessions, introductions, or alumni outreach. If the conversation goes well, kindly ask for feedback on your resume before applying.
This accomplishes two things. First, it’s an extremely efficient way to customize your resume to different companies. Employees offer highly specific edits (“hey try using this buzz word, we love that”). Secondly, this is an awesome way to internally pass along your resume without even asking. If an employee finds you impressive, kind, and sincere, there’s a good chance they’ll put in a word with recruiters.
5. Associate yourself with big brands
Build instant credibility by associating yourself with trusted institutions, even if you’ve never directly worked for one. Did any of your clients include Fortune 500 companies? If you worked at a startup, was it backed by notable venture capitalists? Were you featured in any major publications? Well-known brands shine when recruiters scan resumes so find a way to include them.
Bonus Tip: for college students, an easy way to do this is by becoming a campus ambassador for a notable company. Check out The Campus Job for a quick way to find these types of “campus rep” positions.
6. Follow The “Rule of Seven”
Great resumes send a consistent message. They convey a personal brand. They make recruiters think, “this kid has done this before. If we hire him, he’ll fit right in.” To accomplish this, follow the Rule of Seven. Find buzzwords (and their derivatives) on the company’s website and repeat them seven times in your resume. For instance, when applying for marketing jobs, use verbs like “marketed,” “advertised” and “promoted” to describe your accomplishments. When applying to a start-up, use verbs like “built,” “created,” and “initiated.” And so forth. If you’re really crafty, you don’t have to change much when tailoring to different jobs.
Bonus Tip: One of the biggest missed opportunities is when people write “summer intern” on resumes. Stop doing that! Specify your role (ex: “marketing intern”). It’s another branding opportunity. Another way to fulfill the Rule of Seven is through your “relevant coursework” section (if you have one). When applying for a finance job, for example, list statistics and quantitative classes first.
A few more details can be found in this article.
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