How to Write a Resume That Gets You an Interview
You probably already know how to write a resume. If you search ‘how to write a resume’ on Google, you get 163,000,000 results in less than one second. Wow. That could either be super helpful, or super overwhelming.
Well, if you don’t know how to write one or you want someone else to do it for you, you could search Google again, this time for ‘resume writing service’. You’ll only get 40,400,000 this time. Feel better?
How to Write a Resume That Isn’t a Traditional Resume
Even without looking for help on Google, you probably already know the typical, traditional resume format – most people prefer a chronological resume where you list your jobs from newest to oldest, then you put your education information at the end. Don’t panic, but when you follow the Real Person Job Strategytm, you aren’t going to use a traditional resume. Ok, panic for a second if you want to, then let me know when you’re ready to keep reading.
Did You Buy a Lottery Ticket Thinking You Would Win?
You aren’t going to write and use a traditional resume because that’s what you (and everyone else) has been using. And that’s exactly why you are just a speck in the crowd, an ant on the anthill, a grain of sand on the beach, a person who bought a lottery ticket thinking you would win. I could go on and on, but you get the picture, right? We aren’t going to show you how to write a resume that’s traditional.
If you already have a resume, do you use any of the horrible, generic phrases such as ‘team player’, ‘excellent communicator’, ‘strong work ethic’, ‘results oriented’, ‘works well in cross functional teams’, ‘exceeded expectations’, or any others that signal that you can’t prove your worth? Stop! Please!
Turn Your Resume Into Your Real Person Story – Step by Step
In today’s article we are going to show you, Step-by-Step, how to turn your traditional resume into your Real Person Storytm. What’s the difference? Plenty. Your traditional resume states what you have accomplished with bullet points. If you know how to write a resume, then you included some metrics in your bullet points. In fact, you probably tried to include as many metrics as you could so your resume has more metrics than the other person.
And I’m sure everyone has figured out that you need to put keywords in your resume if you have any hope of getting through the applicant tracking system and on to a live person. In fact, some resume coaches will tell you to be sure to include at least 25 keywords in the top half of your resume. So you scour each job posting to search for those keywords, then copy and paste them into your resume. And then you count them! Have YOU done that?! That may get you past the tracking system, but the tracking system isn’t going to hire you. A person is going to hire you.
If you already have your traditional resume, that’s great. It will help save you some time as your create your Real Person Storytm. If you don’t have a traditional resume, that’s ok too. You can still follow these steps to create your Real Person Storytm. And once you have your Real Person Story, you aren’t going to apply online through job boards. Yeah!
Step One – Review Your Resume Or Create Your List
If you are starting with a traditional resume in hand, then please review it to make sure you have listed all of the companies where you have worked, the job title(s) you held there, and the dates (month and year). The companies and jobs should be in reverse chronological order (newest to oldest). If you don’t already have a traditional resume, create the same list either on paper or in a word document. So, we are all on the same page now – those with a traditional resume and those without.
Step Two – What Is Your Job Focus
In our previous articles we talked about exploring companies, the jobs they offer, and the needs that those companies have as they specifically relate to those jobs. For example, perhaps you are looking at jobs in Customer Service. Through your research you will have uncovered the ‘needs’ that companies have in customer service.
You are going to create a Real Person Storytm that focuses on the needs that companies have for Customer Service. And in your Real Person Storytm you are going to showcase how you have effectively provided solutions to those customer service needs in your various jobs. This Real Person Storytm will brand you as the Customer Service Solution Provider.
If you are looking at jobs in other areas, you will create a Real Person Storytm for each one, branding you as the solution provider for that specific area.
The Hiring Manager Will See You Solving the Needs of the Job
Don’t try to be everything to everyone in your Real Person Storytm. It won’t set you apart and you will make it much harder for the hiring manager to visualize what you can do to solve his/her needs. As we have taught for years, when the hiring manager can see (visualize) you solving the needs of the role – that is when you will have won the position. Your Real Person Storytm begins to build that picture of you as being the solution provider that they need for that job.
So your job in Step Two is to identify the job focus (Is it Customer Service, is it IT security, is it Project Management, etc.) that you have for your first Real Person Storytm and to take out your list of needs that you created previously for that job focus. You are going to use those now.
Step Three – How to Create Your Real Person Summary
Your Real Person Storytm begins with a brief summary that shows the reader who you are as a real person and how you can solve their needs. Please don’t use the summary as a place to write what you want in your career. Who cares? OK, I know you do, but this is about the company’s needs, not yours. We’ve all seen those example summaries: “I’m a seasoned marketing professional who is looking to take my career to the next level with a progressive advertising company.” Really? Bye-Bye. Black hole coming up.
Remember, you are a problem solver. That’s why a company will hire you. So give them a little taste of who you are and what you can do right up front in your Real Person Summary.
Using the Customer Service focus, here’s an example of what you might say:
Since my first college internship at Zappos, I’ve been passionate about the power that superior customer service, created by a well-trained and tenured team, has in creating customer loyalty and repeat business. As a Customer Service Director I’ve delivered to my employers call center teams with 92% retention leading to a 12% increase in customer satisfaction and a 3% increase in repeat customer sales.
In just two sentences, this Customer Service focused individual has shown us the following:
- How he/she became passionate about the customer service industry
- That he/she has had experience with one of the best known companies in customer service
- That he/she took those skills learned and used them successfully to provide demonstrable results
- That he/she can solve problems of call center staff retention
- That he/she can solve a company’s needs to increase customer loyalty and repeat sales
There is no fluff in here and no boastful statements. The job seeker isn’t making any statements about how great he/she is – instead he/she demonstrates the needs that he/she solves and lets the reader make those positive judgments on their own.
Your Real Person Summary should be placed at the top of your Real Person Storytm (underneath your contact information.) PS – Your contact information should include your first and last name, your city, state, and zip code, your email, and your phone number.
Step Four – How to Add Your Companies and Your Jobs
In your traditional resume, you would have listed each company, then listed your job title and the years you performed that job. Then underneath the job you would have listed several bullet points that said what you did there. When you are taught how to write a resume, that’s what you are taught. Ho Hum. Yada Yada. That’s what everyone else does.
Here’s what you are going to do instead:
For each company that you have on your traditional resume (or on the list you created if you didn’t have a resume), you are going to write one sentence that describes the company and one sentence that gives the reader a sense of why you are (or were) there.
Here’s an example of how that might look. This person is focused on staff training and development:
Removal Waste Corporation, San Diego, California
Corporate Training Director 2008 – Present
Removal Waste is the second largest waste management company in the U.S. with more than 25,000 employees and serving 30 states. As the company grew through acquisition of many other diverse companies, I was hired to design and implement consistent new hire training across the entire spectrum of consolidated companies.
With these two, simple sentences you have given your reader an idea of the magnitude of the company. You have also given the reader a picture of the solutions you were hired to do at that company. If you have carefully crafted these sentences your reader will also begin to see a story unfold of the solutions you have provided over time and how those solutions could be the answer to his/her needs.
You are going to repeat this step for each of the companies where you worked. As you write these sentences you are actually telling your own story about how you are a solution provider. Your Real Person Storytm really does become a story and not just some disjointed bullet points.
Step Five – Show How You Solved the Needs of Each Job
You are finally going to get to use some bullet points! Feel better?
Here’s what you are going to do:
Underneath each statement about the company and your role, you are going to list two or three bullet points that show the reader how you provided the solutions for that company’s needs for that job. Notice that I said these bullet points are going to be ‘Solutions’. They are NOT going to be the duties and job responsibilities that you would read in a job description. If you use those for your bullet points you have just shot yourself in the foot – and that would hurt. These bullets are going to be complete sentences. And you are going to write them in the first person. (That means it’s ok to use ‘I designed this’ or ‘I created that’)
Here are some example bullets that could be used for the Removal Waste Corporate Training Director job:
- As Removal acquired other waste management companies, I wrote and taught a training program to teach employees from the acquired companies the Removal Waste company systems and products.
- When Removal consolidated 3 call centers into one, I created the training program that showed all call center employees how to use the new call center software and systems resulting in a 12% decrease in hold time and an increase in customer volume capacity of 4%.
- After Removal Waste was purchased by US Waste, the largest waste management company in the U.S., I created a ‘Train the Trainer’ program that showed the US Waste training team how to use the Removal Waste call center software and systems. Rather than take on a role with US Waste to oversee the transition, I have decided to take this opportunity to do something new.
In the examples above, the job seeker demonstrates his/her solution solving capabilities as well as letting the reader know why he/she is seeking a new role. The job seeker has created a Real Person Storytm about his/her time at Removal Waste. The reader has a clear picture of that story.
The Flow of Your Real Person Storytm
Here’s another place where your Real Person Storytm will differ from your traditional resume. In a traditional resume, when you held more than one job at the same company, you still listed each job separately, then you put your bullet points under each job. You don’t need to do that.
Instead, when you have held multiple jobs in the same company, keep the flow of your story in mind and just tell the reader that you started as a Marketing Coordinator in 2005 and you were the Marketing Director by 2012. Then your bullet points will be under your description of the company and job titles and you will put all the bullets in one place. This makes your story at that company much easier to read and much less choppy. It will also save the reader time because they don’t have to read through each position and then a bunch of bullets for each one.
Finishing Up Your Real Person Storytm
Include your Education after your career history. Include the school name and your degrees or certifications. You don’t need to include dates.
You can also add professional associations, publications, patents, and your interests after your education section.
If you feel that you have left out those keywords that everyone says you should include, you can include those at the bottom of your resume in a separate section called Skills.
You will be creating a separate Real Person Storytm for each job focus that you have.
If you have gotten this far, congratulations! You are nearly ready to send your Real Person Story to the hiring manager.
Next week’s article will give you the final puzzle piece to sending off your first Real Person Story. You’ll learn How to Write Your GAINFUL Meeting Letter and how to send everything off to the hiring manager. You don’t want to miss this key article, so be sure to sign up to receive The Real Person Job Strategy.