Looking for a job during any crisis is hard. And it is especially hard during a global pandemic. But you know, top performers are still getting interview calls. However, I was actually shocked to see some resumes in the last few weeks.... I offered on LinkedIn that I review people's resumes for 15 minutes. This was a free, no-strings-attached offer. In fact, two years back, I had done the same thing for hundreds of people. I also happen to have worn the shoes of the hiring manager. So you can imagine how many resumes I've looked at. And here's what I have learned- most people are clueless about how to write a resume! Don't believe me?
Let's do a quick test- imagine you're the hiring manager. Pull out your resume now. Now skim for 5 seconds. What do you think the top skills of the candidate is? Can't tell? Ask your flatmate, partner, friend, parent... ask anyone! And you will know if your resume stand out or now. So, why is it that our resumes look so plain vanilla when compared to the ones of top performers?
Because we know too much! ABOUT OURSELVES!! 😂
Here are the top three mistakes I find, even on the most polished resumes:
1. IRRELEVANT BANTER Almost everyone is guilty of this one! Those of us with tons of experience and projects under our belts want to talk about all the awesome projects from saving health services to putting a mission on Mars… for a sales job in banking! And those without any real-life work experience want to talk about EVERYTHING - including how many irrelevant projects they worked on in finance, while applying for a job to a NGO! Urrrghh! 2. CLAIMING AWESOMENESS… INSTEAD OF DEMONSTRATING IT Which of the two people would you remember more: 1. "I'm passionate about computer science." 2. "For example, I've taken 20 courses on Udemy and Coursera on Machine Learning, listen to the TWiML podcast, and spent the last weekend in an AI conference, where I learned about BERT models." And these? 1. "I'm excellent at stake-holder management." 2. "For example, I present to CEOs and Boards regularly. I am known to create consensus among various stake-holder groups by discussing and anticipating problem areas and working with operational teams to create buy-ins." Demonstrate awesomeness instead of claiming it- make it obvious! This is THE BIGGEST MISTAKE we are guilty of. And if you open up your CV, you’ll know what I am talking about! 3. NOT BEING IN THE EMPLOYERS’ SHOES Sorry, I take back the title from the previous winner and award this one with the biggest mistake award! Reading resumes is definitely not a fun activity. So if you are not incentivising the hiring manager to read it, what the frock are you doing? Are you speaking to the challenges that the company and hiring manager is facing? Does it use their language? No? So why exactly do you expect to be hired? I see this all the time when people apply to job I post for my corporate role. They say they can code in SQL and Python and have implemented deep neural nets in the previous job. They don’t understand when I either reply with a no or worse even, don’t reply. They don’t understand that I don’t need knowledge of deep neural nets to solve my problems. I need a problem solver who understands data and can tell stories. Remember, in a matter or seconds, hiring managers can decide whether you get to speak to them or not. Make it count!