A resume is best viewed as an introductory letter—this is who I am, and this is how my skills and knowledge will contribute to the growth of your organization; this is the value I seek to provide.
Often times, though, resumes are boring. They lack any details and are excessively inundated with clichés.
Some of the best interview and resume-writing advice comes from Laszlo Bock, who’s in charge of hiring at Google. Thomas L. Friedman, a writer for the New York Times, interviewed Bock and asked him what makes a great resume and what’s the best advice for job interviews. Every time I share this with a friend, they immediately say, “Send me that.”
“The key,” he said, “is to frame your strengths as: ‘I accomplished X, relative to Y, by doing Z.’ Most people would write a résumé like this: ‘Wrote editorials for The New York Times.’ Better would be to say: ‘Had 50 op-eds published compared to average of 6 by most op-ed [writers] as a result of providing deep insight into the following area for three years.’ Most people don’t put the right content on their résumés.”
What’s your best advice for job interviews?
“What you want to do is say: ‘Here’s the attribute I’m going to demonstrate; here’s the story demonstrating it; here’s how that story demonstrated that attribute.’ ” And here is how it can create value. “Most people in an interview don’t make explicit their thought process behind how or why they did something and, even if they are able to come up with a compelling story, they are unable to explain their thought process.”
When we write a resume, we usually think of ourselves first. It may be better to empathize with someone who is in charge of reading resumes, what their worldviews are, what their mission is for the organization. The people who read resumes and pass them along are looking for potential; they’re responsible for finding and hiring an all-star team. Make it easier for them not by thinking about yourself, but thinking about how you can play a major function in the growth of the organization.